Salvation Army calls for urgent action on rough sleeping crisis
published on 27 Feb 2020
Giving his reaction to the official Annual Rough Sleeping Count figures, Malcolm Page, The Salvation Army’s Assistant Director of Homelessness Services, said: “Fewer people being forced to sleep rough is a glimmer of hope, but we have a long way to go to help everyone who is without a safe place to shelter tonight and every night.
“The Government’s announcement today of £236m to help tackle rough sleeping through Housing First style accommodation is welcome, as is a review of the causes of homelessness. However, it can only go so far. Urgent action and long-term solutions are desperately needed to stop the causes of homelessness in the first place and to get people off the streets for good.
“We desperately need further investment in support services which are proven to help people get their lives back on track. A piecemeal, short- term approach to funding will not help these vulnerable people. Quick fixes will not work.
“The Government must prioritise consistent funding to combat homelessness to keep its promise to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament. The latest this would be is 2025, so reversing cuts to services, including addiction and mental health support must happen now.
“Rough sleeping is a visible epidemic in our cities, towns and suburbs, with those who are on the streets dealing with some of the most difficult life issues like fleeing domestic violence, childhood trauma, mental ill health or drug and alcohol dependency.
“When the Government launched its Rough Sleeping Strategy in August 2018 it promised to update the strategy on an annual basis. But we are yet to see any update published. We really want to see a revised strategy urgently, with an explanation of how the Government plans to meet its goal to end rough sleeping for good.”
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The Salvation Army is urging the Government to:
- Publish its promised update of the Rough Sleeping Strategy, including a clear plan of how it plans to meet its ambitious target of ending rough sleeping by the end of the current Parliament.
- To prevent people from becoming homelessness in the first place, the Government must increase the value of local housing allowance rates to ensure that they cover the costs of at least three in ten of the most affordable properties in any given area.
- Make consistent funding available for support services, which offer more than just food and shelter for homeless people, but help them deal with the complex reasons that led to their sleeping on the streets in the first place.
About Housing First
Housing First offers permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible and then provides support to link people into the services they need to address any other issues. Housing First is a specialised service for people who have experienced sustained or recurrent homelessness. The Salvation Army currently has significant Housing First services in Scotland and Wales.
About The Salvation Army’s homelessness work:
The Salvation Army’s is one of the largest homelessness charities operating in the UK, providing more than 3,000 places for people in supported housing across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our work with people who are homeless goes back to our very beginnings – in January 1888 we opened our first homeless centre in Limehouse, London offering affordable food and a bed for the night. Today the church and charity doesn’t just give people who are homeless food and shelter – we help them rebuild their lives by offering personalised support like training in basic life skills, addictions help, housing advice, and a listening ear.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army is an international Christian church and registered charity which has been transforming lives for more than 150 years. Working in 131 countries worldwide, The Salvation Army offers friendship, practical help and support for people at all levels of need. In the UK and Republic of Ireland this work includes more than 750 community churches and social centres. Registered Charity Nos. 214779, 215174 and in Scotland SC009359, SC037691. For more information visit the website www.salvationarmy.org.uk.
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