Homeless Link responds to Government prevention plan

16 Aug 2012 01:18 PM

Recently, the Government published a cross-Government approach to preventing homelessness.

The report ‘Making Every Contact Count’ sets out a number of welcome commitments to prevent homelessness, including better cross-service working and a homeless ‘gold standard’ that all services should aim to achieve.

The report comes on the same day as new Government statistics, which show the number of households which were helped last year to stay in their homes or found a new place to live.

Responding Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, the umbrella body for homeless charities said:

“Homeless numbers have risen sharply in recent years and the evidence suggests that, in many cases, this could have been prevented. All too often those who end up sofa surfing, living in squats or on the streets asked for help before they became homeless.

“The vision behind this report - that homeless is everyone’s business – is welcomed, as is the ambition that we should all expect the best possible help if we find ourselves threatened with homelessness.

“However, with the potential for welfare reform to further fuel homeless numbers and funding cuts to the very services that help homeless people, this report lacks detail on how this ambition will be achieved in practice.”

“To prevent homelessness we all need to play our part and provide the best help possible. But, we also need Government to ensure that welfare reform does not add to homelessness numbers and councils to protect the very services that are critical to preventing homelessness.”

Homeless Link recommendations

In response, Homeless Link has called for four additional commitments to realise the ambition behind the ‘Making Every Contact Count’ report.

Homeless Link has called for:

  • Police, probation health, social care and other services to understand the numbers of homeless people they deal with and commission services that are able to meet their needs. 
  • A way to hold organisations to account if they don’t provide a good services and don’t make every contact count
  • A Government commitment to respond quickly should welfare reform lead to an increase in homelessness
  • Political commitment, both nationally and locally, to protect the very services that are critical to preventing homelessness.