A Salvation Army spokesperson, said: “The Salvation Army is concerned that the rise in households being housed in temporary accommodation since 2009-2010 has coincided with a £998m reduction in spending on other housing and homelessness services, as highlighted in the National Audit Office report released today (September 13). For example, local authority spending on the programme formerly known as Supporting People, which is aimed at helping vulnerable people live independently, has fallen by around 59% in real terms since 2010-11. Significantly, this reduction in funding has been closely linked to a reduction in the number of bed spaces for people who are homeless, from 43,655 spaces in 2010 to 35,727 in 2016. At the same time, all forms of homelessness have risen, including a 134% rise in the number of rough sleepers.
“In addition to these concerns, The Salvation Army has recently released independent research highlighting that the Government’s proposals to change the funding of supported housing (which includes our residential centres for people who are homeless – known as Lifehouses), could mean the majority of The Salvation Army’s residents living in its supported housing might not be guaranteed sufficient financial support. We are particularly concerned that previously guaranteed funding for our residents could be diverted away in much the same way that Supporting People funding has been reduced to help cover the escalating costs of temporary accommodation. This has happened as local authorities work to meet their legal obligations in the face of rapidly increasing levels of need.
“If the discretionary element of the Government’s proposals for the funding of supported housing is implemented and there is a reduction in the same way as seen with Supporting People funding, then our independent research by Frontier Economics has highlighted that the future of more than 90 per cent of The Salvation Army’s Lifehouses could be placed at risk.
“As such, the National Audit Office’s report provides further evidence that the Government must rethink its proposed reform of the funding model for supported housing, and delay its introduction until April 2022 to enable a more sustainable solution to be found.”
To find out more about The Salvation Army’s concerns around the Government’s proposals to change the way supported housing is funded for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our communities, visit here.