Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
£215 million boost for council homelessness services
Councils across the country are set to receive a share of over £215 million from 2019 to prevent homelessness, Homelessness Minister Heather Wheeler confirmed yesterday (22 March 2018). This includes a £15 million fund for London councils to support their work together to prevent and reduce homelessness.
This latest funding – the third round from the government’s Flexible Homelessness Support Grant programme – brings the total government investment to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping to over £1.2 billion through to 2020.
Homelessness Minister Heather Wheeler said:
This government is determined to help the most vulnerable in our society and to break the homelessness cycle once and for all. That why we’re investing over £1.2 billion in tackling the issue and bringing in the most ambitious legislation in decades that will mean people get the support they need earlier.
This latest funding gives councils the freedom to invest in homelessness services that work in their area, including support to prevent someone becoming homeless in the first place.
Yesterday’s announcement comes ahead of the Homelessness Reduction Act which comes into force next month to significantly reform England’s legislation and ensure that more people get the help they need when they’re faced with homelessness.
It forms part of the government’s comprehensive approach to reducing homelessness, giving early support to those at risk of losing their homes.
In addition to total of £617 million in Flexible Homelessness Support Grant funding and implementing the Homelessness Reduction Act, the government is taking significant action to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping through:
- a new cross-government Homelessness Reduction Taskforce supported by a panel of experts that will drive forward a new strategy to reduce homelessness with an initial focus on rough sleeping
- £28 million funding for 3 ‘Housing First’ pilots in Manchester, Liverpool and the West Midlands to support long-term rough sleepers off the streets. Individuals will be provided with stable, affordable accommodation and intensive wrap-around support. This will to help them recover from complex health issues, for example substance abuse and mental health difficulties and sustain their tenancies
- investing £9 billion to build more affordable housing, including council homes
- supporting Housing Benefit and Universal Credit claimants living in areas where private rents have been rising fastest, the government will increase some Local Housing Allowance rates by increasing Targeted Affordability Funding by £40 million in 2018 to 2019 and £85 million in 2019 to 2020. This will increase the housing benefit awards of approximately 140,000 claimants in 2018 to 2019, by an average of £280, in areas where affordability pressures are greatest.
In April 2017, the government replaced the tightly controlled Department for Work and Pension’s Temporary Accommodation Management Fee (TAMF). This payment could only be used for expensive intervention when a household was already homeless, rather than on preventing it happening in the first place. The new grant empowers councils to act more strategically to support the full range of homelessness services, including preventing families from losing their homes in the first place.
The first and second year allocations from the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant, a combined total of £402 million, were announced on 15 March 2017.
Read more about the Homelessness Reduction Act that comes into effect on 3 April 2018.
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