Jenrick launches £266m programme to house rough sleepers

Robert Jenrick MP (Demo)

Councils have been offered funding to help homeless people temporarily housed during the COVID-19 pandemic into long-term accommodation, the housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.

The government’s new £266 million Next Steps Accommodation Programme launched on 18 July and will cover the property costs and support new tenancies of people who were given emergency accommodation during the pandemic.

The programme raises total government support for homelessness and rough sleepers to over half a billion pounds as authorities aim to ensure that as few people as possible helped during the pandemic return to the streets.

Jenrick said: “The remarkable national effort to support rough sleepers and vulnerable people during this crisis has protected many lives and I am hugely grateful to all those involved.

“We now have a landmark opportunity to break the cycle of rough sleeping and ensure that people do not return to a life on the streets.

“I am launching the funding to ensure that vulnerable people and rough sleepers continue to have a roof over their heads and are helped into longer term accommodation, enabling them to start to rebuild their lives.”

Councils have been invited to bid for a share of £105 million to ensure that those living in interim accommodation can be offered further support and helped to find either a new home or to move in with friends and family.

The government has made a further £161 million available to provide 3,300 additional supported homes this year for those currently living in emergency accommodation.

This additional £161 million forms part of the government’s pledge of £433 million this parliament to provide 6,000 long-term homes for rough sleepers.

Expert advisers have been made available to support councils in making their bids, with submissions closing on Thursday 20 August.

The rough sleeping minister Luke Hall said: “There has been a colossal effort from our councils, charities and partners to provide a protective shield for the most vulnerable during this pandemic.

“Their efforts must not be in vain and today’s release of funding will make a huge difference by preventing thousands from returning to the streets with further support to allow them to rebuild their lives with a roof above their heads.”

The Next Steps Accommodation Programme forms part of the COVID-19 response organised by the COVID-19 Rough Sleeping Taskforce, headed up by Dame Louise Casey.

Over 15,000 homeless people have been temporarily housed as part of the government’s ‘Everyone In’ policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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