Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 17th April 2019.

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Photo of Julian Knight Julian Knight Conservative, Solihull

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to reduce homelessness in (a) the UK and (b) the West Midlands.

Photo of Rishi Sunak Rishi Sunak Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

This Department has policy responsibility for setting the national framework for housing, including homelessness and rough sleeping in England.

The Government is committed to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping. No one should ever have to sleep rough. That is why last summer we published the cross-government Rough Sleeping Strategy. This sets out an ambitious £100 million package to help people who sleep rough now, but also puts in place the structures that will end rough sleeping once and for all. The Government has now committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period.

Ahead of the Rough Sleeping Strategy we announced a new Rough Sleeping Initiative in order to have an immediate impact on reducing the levels of rough sleeping. Measures within the initiative include:

  • a cross-government, multi-disciplinary new Rough Sleeping Team;
  • a £30 million fund for 2018-19 for local authorities with high number of people sleeping rough, providing over 1,750 new bed spaces and 500 staff;
  • a further £46 million fund for 2019-20 to help tackle rough sleeping, providing an estimated 2,600 bed spaces and 750 staff;
  • £100,000 funding to support frontline Rough Sleeping staff across the country and equipping them with the right skills and knowledge to work with vulnerable rough sleepers.

In April 2018 the Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious legislative reform in decades came into force. The Act transforms the culture of homelessness service delivery. It placed new duties on local housing authorities to take reasonable steps to try to prevent

and relieve a person’s homelessness.

In 2018/19 the West Midlands received £25 million to support the delivery of homelessness services. This includes £1.4 million to pilot the Housing First approach with their most entrenched rough sleepers; £90.909 to boost the support offer for vulnerable veterans who are, or at risk of becoming homeless; £1.8 million as part of the Rough Sleeping Initiative; and £1.4 million in new burdens funding to implement the Homelessness Reduction Act.

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