The LHS, published in 2018, includes many policies which have since contributed toward reducing and alleviating homelessness in London. From house-building programmes to increase the supply of housing, to policies on social and affordable housing to improve the affordability of housing, to working to improve conditions and protections for London’s private renters. My Rough Sleeping Plan of Action builds on the policies specifically in relation to rough sleeping, setting out the steps that I would take, and those required of local and national government, in order to tackle this issue.
A new Rapid Response outreach team, Floating Assessment Hubs, and the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme are just a few examples of the new services and initiatives that I have delivered since 2018. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic the GLA has played a vital role in ensuring that rough sleepers are supported and COVID-19 rates within the homeless population are kept as low as possible. Since last March, over 2,200 rough sleepers have been safely accommodated in GLA-procured hotels, over 800 of whom have positively moved on. Lives have been both turned around and saved by this incredible work.
Each year over 80% of rough sleepers helped by my rough sleeping services exit rough sleeping permanently.
Unfortunately, welfare cuts and other national government policies mean people continue to be pushed onto the streets, and I am concerned that the end of the furlough scheme and the ban on enforcing evictions will see these numbers rise further.