Jenrick’s £112m boost for rough sleeping fund is a “paltry sum” says Labour’s Healey

HOUSING secretary Robert Jenrick MP has announced an extra £112 million of funding for councils to help rough sleepers off the streets and into safe accommodation.

The funding represents a 30% increase this year for the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, and is to be used by local authorities, charities and other organisations to fund up to 6,000 new bed spaces, and 2,500 support staff across the country.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG), this will help “vulnerable rough sleepers get the support they need to rebuild their lives”. This could mean providing a roof over their head, access to specialist mental health or addiction services, or advice on how to secure a home in the long term.

“No-one should have to face a night on the street, and we have a moral duty to support those who need help the most. It is encouraging to see more people getting the support they need, but there is always more to do,” said Jenrick.

“We are focusing relentlessly on this issue and our efforts have already led to the first nationwide fall in rough sleeping in a decade – and the areas funded by our Rough Sleeping Initiative have seen rough sleeping numbers fall around a third more than they would be without this vital programme, but we need to go further.

“That is why we are providing this funding so vital work can continue as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.”

Homelessness minister Luke Hall added: “There are people all over the country working tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. Our Rough Sleeping Initiative is proving to be successful, and this funding will mean this vital work can be continued as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.”

However, shadow housing secretary John Healey MP was less than impressed by the funding announcement.

“This paltry sum pales in comparison with the £1 billion of cuts to local homelessness services over the last decade, which have led to the loss of almost 9,000 hostel bed spaces,” he said.

“The number of people sleeping on our streets has more than doubled since 2010, as a direct result of the Conservatives’ decision to slash funding for homelessness services and support, and to cut investment in new low-cost homes.

“Labour will continue to hold the Government to account to fix the homelessness crisis they have caused.”

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