Rise in rough sleepers reported today makes ‘sombre reading’

published on 25 Jan 2018

Helen Cameron, Head of Public Affairs at The Salvation Army said: “The publication of today’s official Rough Sleeping figures makes sombre reading. There has been a 15% increase of people sleeping rough in England between 2016 and 2017 and a 169% increase since 2010. This is the highest number of people sleeping rough recorded yet. However, due to the count’s methodology, this figure is likely to represent an underestimate, with the actual number of people sleeping rough in England likely to be higher still.

“The Salvation Army is deeply concerned by these figures and urges the Government to take immediate action to address a problem that has worsened considerably over the last decade. This must involve a reversal of the “light touch” approach to homelessness taken by government in recent years, as highlighted by both the National Audit Office in their 2017 report into homelessness and the Public Accounts Committee following their inquiry into homeless households.

“In addition, The Salvation Army believes that the Government must address concerns over its proposed reform of the funding model for housing costs in ‘short-term’ supported housing – a key form of accommodation and support for people with experience of rough sleeping. If the reform is introduced in its current format, our residents and services will be exposed to significant levels of risk, with no guarantee that we will be able to continue meeting our costs or invest in the development and maintenance of new and existing provision. Government needs to create a model that will ensure stability and security for residents, providers and local authorities both now and in the future.”

The Salvation Army has responded to the joint Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Work and Pensions’ consultation into funding for supported housing. The response can be viewed here.