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The 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 (HRA), which is the most ambitious legislation in this area in decades, came into force on 3 April 2018. The HRA 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. The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government is working with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that rough sleepers have the health care they need, when they need it. This includes several commitments that were made in the Rough Sleeping Strategy, such as:
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.