Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Grant Shapps: Prevention is best cure for homeless
A new report yesterday sets out a cross-Government approach to ensuring that anyone at risk of homelessness gets help at the earliest possible stage to prevent them from losing their home.
The Making Every Contact Count report details clear commitments from Government to stop the slide towards homelessness in its tracks and ensure that this country's strong safety net of support for those without a roof over their head remains an absolute last resort.
Alongside this Housing Minister Grant Shapps reaffirmed ongoing efforts to ensure no-one has to spend more than one night on the streets, with a further £3.5 million for more homelessness help and to roll out the No Second Night Out initiative across the country.
Making every contact count
Mr Shapps said that yesterday's report would give councils, charities, health services and the police a blueprint to work together to ensure that families and vulnerable people at risk of homelessness are offered help early, no matter who they turn to first.
It sets out the Government's clear commitment to helping them achieve:
earlier support for young people, former prisoners, and patients with mental health, drug or alcohol problems;
better cross-service work between the voluntary sector, councils, health services and the justice system;
financial advice and jobseeking support through the voluntary sector, Jobcentre Plus and the work programme;
new funding mechanisms, including the Government's innovative new payment-by-results scheme; and
a new homelessness 'gold standard' that all local services should aim to achieve, setting the benchmark for services across the country.
The Minister said that this early intervention approach is backed up yesterday by new statistics which show that 199,000 households were last year given help to stay in their homes or find new places to live. This vital support, such as repossession, tenancy or debt advice and re-housing services, can set many people back on track before they face losing their home.
More support for rough sleepers
A further £3.5 million to 21 homelessness charities will support help and accommodation schemes for rough sleepers and extend the No Second Night Out initiative to eight more areas - Manchester, Plymouth, Great Yarmouth, North Devon, Taunton, Gloucestershire, Chichester and Worcestershire.
First introduced in London, the No Second Night Out project works with members of the public to quickly identify people sleeping rough locally and provides them with the support they need to get themselves off the streets Mr Shapps wants to see the initiative rolled out across the country.
Yesterday's funding will support:
two 'Nightstop' emergency accommodation service for young people prevent them from living on the streets, or living long-term in B&Bs;
Housing First accommodation for ex rough sleepers help them rebuild their lives and get into long term housing rather than hostels;
a No Second Night Out project and a supported private rented homes scheme for rough sleepers in Plymouth;
a No Second Night Out team at Worcestershire's St Paul's Hostel to work with rough sleepers and support those moving to long term accommodation; and
improving co-ordination and information sharing between day centres and voluntary services in Manchester's Day Centres, including a No Second Night Out service.
Grant Shapps said:
"We have some of the strongest protections in the world to safeguard people from homelessness, despite trying economic times, with homelessness in this country lower than for 28 of the last 30 years. But more can always be done.
"No single voluntary service, government agency, council or government department can prevent homelessness alone - but working together we can make a big impact. Every single contact these vulnerable people have with our public services - from council drop-ins to healthcare visits - should be made to count, turning prevention into the cure for anyone facing the real and frightening prospect of sleeping on the streets.
"And for those who still fall through the cracks, a further £3.5 million of Government money to help rough sleepers and roll out our No Second Night Out pledge across the country means that anyone facing losing their home and sleeping rough will get the support they need and deserve."
Notes to editors
1. Yesterday's gold standard on tackling homelessness is contained within the second report from the Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness, Making Every Contact Count, which is published today and can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/makingeverycontactcount.
2. Annual homelessness prevention figures are published today and can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/homelessnessprevention201112.
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