Response to rough sleeper task force funding announcement

published on 28 May 2020

Malcolm Page, Assistant Director of Homelessness Services at The Salvation Army, said:

“This is the biggest opportunity to change the lives of rough sleepers in a generation, but while we welcome this one-off year of funding it is not enough to end homelessness. 

“We are calling on the government to seize this opportunity and launch a 10-year plan to tackle the root causes of homelessness. People have many complex reasons why they sleep rough and needing a roof over their heads is just one part of it. Any investment in housing also needs sustained funding so councils can provide long term wrap around support for people to deal with the reasons they ended up on the streets which often include poor mental ill health, fleeing domestic violence, childhood trauma or addictions. 

“We must also plan to avoid a new generation of people falling into a homeless spiral as a direct result of the coronavirus. 

“During the lockdown, local authorities reported an increase in people leaving abusive homes and ‘sofa surfers’ coming forward in need of housing. With more than a million people losing their jobs since March we also need to see a continuation of the ban on evictions, otherwise we risk a new wave of people suffering with homelessness emerging.

“The move to build more than 6,000 new homes for rough sleepers is also an excellent first step but it is vital that support is provided alongside the accommodation. At The Salvation Army we have pioneered the use of modular housing with on-site support for rough sleepers, like our centre in Ilford and we are exploring as a church and charity how we can potentially expand on this scheme.”

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