Homelessness: Death

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to combat the rise in deaths of homeless people.

Photo of Viscount Younger of Leckie Viscount Younger of Leckie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

This Government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022, before ending it altogether and has now committed over £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the spending review period to April 2020.

In the recent Spending Round we announced £422 million funding for homelessness in 2020/21, an increase of £54 million.

The Government changed the law and the Homelessness Reduction Act, which is the most ambitious legislation in this area in decades, came into force this April. The Homelessness Reduction Act requires Councils to provide early support for those at risk of having nowhere left to go. The Government is also boosting access to affordable housing, and making renting more secure.

We also recognise the challenges that the cold weather poses for those who are sleeping rough. On 12 September 2019, we launched a second year of the Cold Weather Fund. This £10 million fund will be available to all local authorities in England to provide a robust, local response to support as many rough sleepers as possible off the streets during the winter period. This is double the funding made available last winter. Local authorities will be able to access this funding until March 2020

Whilst we recognise that suitable housing is a key part of the solution, health services have a significant role to play, alongside other public services. MHCLG is working with the DHSC to ensure that rough sleepers have the health care they need, when the need it. This includes several commitments that were made in the Rough Sleeping Strategy, such as:

  • committing £30m for mental health services from NHS England for rough sleeping over the next five years
  • providing up to £2 million in health funding to test models of community-based provision designed to enable access to health and support services for people who are sleeping rough.
  • working with Safeguarding Adult Boards to ensure that Safeguarding Adult Reviews where appropriate. Lessons learned from these reviews will inform improvements in local systems and services.

Professor Dame Carol Black has been appointed to carry out a major review of drug misuse. The review, which is building on existing government strategies to combat drugs, serious violence and serious and organised crime, is examining the harms that drugs cause and the best ways to prevent drug-taking.

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