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Thousands of rough sleepers to be supported with £212 million investment in new homes

investment in dedicated homes launched by the Housing Secretary. Homes will be made available in every region


of England, enabling people who sleep rough, or are at risk of sleeping rough, to be rehoused in secure, long-term accommodation. This will provide some of the most vulnerable members of society with a place to live and help them to rebuild their lives as they transition away from a life on the streets. Through the scheme, rough sleepers will be

supported by specialist staff to access the help they need, such as support for mental health or substance misuse needs, so they can move towards training and work, and finding a permanent home. This funding is the latest stage in the largest-ever

investment in longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers, with 6,000 homes pledged by the end of this Parliament as part of the Government’s ambition to end rough sleeping once and for all. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and

Local Government is leading the drive to eliminate rough sleeping with £750 million being spent over the next year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick said: “Since

the start of the pandemic, we made it a priority to protect rough sleepers through our ongoing ‘Everyone In’ campaign, which has supported more than 37,000 people into long-term accommodation. “To build on this progress we are making the

biggest ever investment in longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers so they can have a secure, safe and comfortable home and rebuild their lives.

housands more rough sleepers will be helped to rebuild their lives away from the streets as a result of a multi-million-pound

Through the scheme, rough sleepers will be supported by specialist staff to access the help they need, such as support for mental health or substance misuse needs, so they can move towards training and work, and finding a permanent home

“Councils have played an outstanding role in

protecting rough sleepers throughout the pandemic and this funding is a further opportunity to work together to achieve our mission of ending rough sleeping once and for all.”

THE NEW NORMAL Eddie Hughes, Minister for Housing and Rough Sleeping said: “Looking back at an incredibly challenging 12 months, everyone who has helped protect rough sleepers, including councils, charities, housing providers and support groups, should be immensely proud of the role they have played in our internationally recognised response. “This new funding will play a vital role in

maintaining this progress, with long-term, secure homes providing a safe place to live so that rough sleepers do not have to return to our streets.” Councillor James Jamieson, Local Government

Association Chairman, said: “It is vital that we build on the success of councils, government and partners in getting rough sleepers off the streets during the pandemic and make this the new normal rather than a one-off emergency response. “This investment will help to transform the

lives of people sleeping rough and ensure they get the crucial support they need and a roof above their head.

Councils stand ready to play their part in the

cross-government drive to end rough sleeping altogether and make sure no-one suffers the tragedy of becoming homeless. The Government’s unprecedented ‘Everyone In’

initiative was launched by the Housing Secretary at the start of the pandemic to protect rough sleepers – some of the most vulnerable people in our communities – and it has so far supported 37,000 individuals, with more than 26,000 already moved on to longer-term accommodation. Data published in February showed that rough

sleeping had fallen 43 per cent since hitting its peak in 2017 – with 2,688 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in Autumn 2020, compared to 4,677 in 2018. Through the first year of the Rough Sleeping

Accommodation Programme, the Government allocated more than £150 million, as well as investing in high-quality support over the next three years, so that vulnerable people helped through the programme can maintain their tenancies and move on from rough sleeping. Councils are invited to bid for a share of

the £212 million funding for the next three years as part of a total £433 million investment in safe, long-term, stable and supported housing for rough sleepers.

Homeless and rough sleepers prioritised for COVID vaccinations

The Government has prioritised homeless people and those sleeping rough for Covid vaccines, due to higher numbers of them having undiagnosed conditions and less day to day access to health services. Health Secretary Matt Hancock agreed that

homeless people should be put in Group six, for people with underlying health conditions that place them at greater risk of Covid.

In a letter to Hancock, the SAGE advisory

committee noted that people who were homeless or sleeping rough had high rates of undiagnosed comorbidities and that half of them had no access to healthcare. Many thousands of people who are normally

rough sleepers are currently in accommodation, giving “a unique opportunity to in-reach vaccination to a population that is otherwise often

18 | HMM April/May 2021 |

unable to access basic healthcare”, the letter said. In his reply on, Hancock said he was happy for

NHS England to treat homeless or rough-sleeping people alongside others in Group 6, as part of a pragmatic approach to the dosing schedule. He later said: “We know there are heightened

risks for those who sleep rough and I have accepted the advice of the independent experts to prioritise those experiencing rough sleeping or homelessness for vaccination.” Professor Wei Shen Lim, the chair of the SAGE

Covid-19 programme, said: “This advice will help us to protect more people who are at greater risk, ensuring that fewer people become seriously ill or die from the virus.”

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