Spending Review's narrow focus on rough sleeping will not end homelessness
In yesterday’s Spending Review, the Chancellor announced an additional £151 million to help end rough sleeping in England, taking total funding for 2021-22 to £250 million.
In Homeless Link’s Spending Review submission and letter to the Chancellor (18 November), we called upon the Government to invest to eliminate homelessness. Key asks included:
- Investing an additional £1 billion to prevent and end homelessness;
- Removing the benefit cap in areas of high affordability pressures, and adjusting levels in line with Minimum Income Standard;
- Maintaining the Local Housing Allowance Rate to cover at least the 30th percentile of local rents beyond 2021-22;
- Retaining the £20/week Universal Credit uplift, and extending this to legacy benefits;
- Funding 90,000 new social homes in England each year to 2023, as recommended by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
While we welcome the measures laid out in the Review, we believe that these do not go far enough and focus too narrowly on tackling rough sleeping at crisis point.
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, yesterday commented:
“While we commend the additional investment to help alleviate rough sleeping, we are concerned that the Spending Review falls short of ensuring that we are able to fulfil the ambition of preventing and ending homelessness in all its forms. In failing to prioritise the issue with fully funded, sustainable services and a welfare safety net that works for everyone, we risk allowing the progress made during the first national lockdown to slip away, as a growing number of people are pushed into homelessness.
“We urge the Government to commit to taking a longer term preventative approach. A few additional measures, including retention of the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift and an extension of this to legacy benefits, will prevent thousands of people from losing their homes in the first place, putting us on much firmer footing for eliminating homelessness for good.”
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