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Government announces £200 million funding for rough sleeper initiative

·2-min read

Rough sleepers in England will be helped off the streets and into accommodation with a further £203 million being committed by the Government.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said on Saturday the funding for the rough sleeping initiative will help support shelters and specialist mental health or addiction services in England.

But the Crisis charity warned that the funding “will only scratch the surface”.

Coronavirus – Sat Jan 23, 2021
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick (Jacob King/PA)

Figures earlier this year showed a third consecutive annual fall for the number of people sleeping rough, which was partially attributed to the success of the initiative.

But there were still 2,688 people estimated to be sleeping rough on any single night in England last autumn.

The Government said the new money will be used by councils, charities and others local groups to fund up to 14,500 beds and 2,700 support staff.

Mr Jenrick said: “At the beginning of the pandemic we took swift and decisive action to bring rough sleepers in from the streets and settled them into longer-term accommodation in record numbers.

“That work continues, the results are clear and are a huge credit to all involved.”

Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, welcomed the funding and said efforts over the last year of the coronavirus pandemic to get people off the streets have been “vital”.

“But the number of people helped by this funding will only scratch the surface,” he added.

“For people with multiple support needs who require specialist programmes, like housing first, to help them out of homelessness for good, this announcement falls short.

“Without such sustained support, those helped off the streets today risk returning to them tomorrow.”

He said that long-term solutions where people are supported into safe and permanent homes are needed in order to end rough sleeping for good.

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