Homelessness

Housing, Communities and Local Government – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th November 2018.

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Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay 12:00 am, 5th November 2018

What steps his Department is taking to reduce homelessness.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince Conservative, Colchester

What steps his Department is taking to reduce homelessness.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I thank my hon. Friends for their questions. We are spending more than £1.2 billion through to 2020, and we have implemented the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, published our £100 million rough sleeping strategy and taken immediate action to begin to reduce the number of people on the streets.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Conservative, Torbay

I thank the Minister for her reply, and it is great to see her back in her place. As she will know, Torbay is very keen to take forward a Housing First pilot for our bay, to end the scourge of rough sleeping. Can she update us on what plans the Government have for that approach to be adopted?

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

We are delighted to be piloting Housing First at scale across England for the first time. The impact of that approach will be measured by a rigorous evaluation, which will ensure that we have the robust evidence base needed to demonstrate its effectiveness and inform future spending decisions.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince Conservative, Colchester

Does my hon. Friend agree with me and the more than 20 homelessness and health charities, including St Mungo’s, which today published a joint open letter to Sir Simon Stevens of NHS England, that to tackle homelessness, we need to ensure that the NHS works with others and local authorities to provide better support for those tackling mental health, alcohol and drug addiction and sleeping rough on our streets?

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

My hon. Friend is an assiduous campaigner on this matter. We appreciate that this is a very high priority for all local constituency MPs on both sides of the Chamber. I certainly agree that wraparound support is crucial to help people who have been sleeping rough to access and sustain accommodation. In our recent rough sleeping strategy, we announced a range of measures, including asking NHS England to spend up to £30 million over five years on health services for rough sleepers.

Photo of Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

Street homelessness is a growing problem in my city of Leeds, reflecting inadequate social housing and mental health provision, and cuts to benefits. Big Change Leeds, launched last month, is bringing together everyone trying to help those who are street homeless in our city by giving their time or money. Will the Government welcome this initiative, but more importantly, will they commit their support by giving Leeds City Council the money it needs to address this growing problem in our city?

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Again, I reiterate how very important this question is to everybody on both sides of the Chamber. I had the great pleasure of talking last week to the chief executive of the council in Leeds about the strategy and about the money and the help we are giving to the city. It was a really useful conversation to find a chief executive who is so committed to the project.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

Will the Minister say how much money to deal with homelessness she has given to the local authority in Coventry and the charities in Coventry, which tell me that their allocations have been cut? That is no way to deal with homelessness.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

I am very sorry that the charities are telling the local Member that, because overall we are putting in place a £1.2 billion fund for homelessness. I would certainly be very happy to write to the hon. Gentleman. His area is part of the greater west midlands project, and the greater west midlands Mayor, Andy Street, has many millions of pounds to help with homelessness—going to Coventry as well as the other parts of the greater west midlands.