Sleeping Rough: Veterans

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 16th May 2019.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Party Chair, Co-operative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to implement a data collection exercise system of similar quality to the Greater London Authority’s Combined Homelessness and Information Network throughout England to allow accurate data capture on the number of rough sleeping veterans; and if he will make a statement.

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

Our veterans play a vital role in keeping our country safe and we are committed to ensuring that they are provided with all the support they need to successfully adjust back into civilian life.

In March we allocated an additional £1 million of bespoke funding to support ex-members of the armed forces who are or are at risk of becoming homeless. The funding has been allocated between the Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority, and will be used to develop new services and support them in engaging with existing service provision.

As recommended by the UKSA, we have included CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) statistics within the Rough Sleeping Statistics release. Overall, 7 per cent of people seen sleeping rough by outreach workers across London during 2017/18 had served in the armed forces at some point in their lives. 3 per cent of these were UK nationals - around 135 people. Although CHAIN offers more information on the flows and characteristics of people rough sleeping, data quality is influenced by the number of outreach workers active on any one night. Therefore a local authority which does not have a commissioned outreach team may appear to have fewer rough sleepers than an adjacent borough which does have an active outreach service.

MHCLG is actively encouraging local authorities with significant numbers of rough sleepers to improve their year-round data. We are working collaboratively with local authorities to develop improved homelessness data and outcomes that can measure progress in reducing rough sleeping and homelessness.

In April 2018, we introduced a new data capture tool called H-CLIC. H-CLIC captures information on all those who engage with local authority homelessness services and will collect information on the support needs of a household, including support need resulting from being in the armed forces.

We are also establishing local data pilots which will seek to improve the evidence on rough sleeping in some areas. These data pilots will help to provide a richer picture on the characteristics of rough sleepers in some areas.

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.

We have committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period. In its first year, our Rough Sleeping Initiative provided over 1,750 new bed spaces and 500 staff. This year we have expanded the RSI with investment of £46 million for 246 areas – providing funding for an estimated 2,600 bed spaces and 750 staff.

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