Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
9:30 AM 26th February 2021

Huge Progress Made As Rough Sleeping Figures At 6 Year Low

The annual rough sleeping snapshot shows that rough sleeping has fallen 43% since 2018.

43% drop in people sleeping rough since 2018, with 37,000 people supported through government’s Everyone In programme during the pandemic
Housing Secretary pays tribute to combined efforts of government, councils and charities
Extra £6.4 million funding for voluntary organisations to provide safe accommodation and services – part of £750 million funding for rough sleeping next year

The annual rough sleeping snapshot, which shows that rough sleeping has fallen 43% since the Prime Minister has come into office, has been welcomed by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick as a milestone in the effort to end rough sleeping for good.

Data published today (25 February 2021) shows that rough sleeping has fallen 43% under this administration – with 2,688 people estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2020, compared to 4,677 in 2018.

Further data published shows a continued downward trend in rough sleeping numbers over the winter – with the total number of people recorded as sleeping rough across the whole of England falling to 1,461 at the end of January.

The Housing Secretary paid tribute to the combined efforts of councils, charities, faith groups and other partners for the huge achievement, recognising that new partnerships between housing and health services have been crucial to supporting thousands of rough sleepers during the pandemic.

The government’s unprecedented Everyone In initiative was launched by the Housing Secretary at the start of the pandemic to protect rough sleepers – some of the most vulnerable people in our communities – and has so far supported 37,000 into secure accommodation, with more than 26,000 already moved on to longer-term accommodation. Independent studies have shown that Everyone In has protected hundreds from the pandemic.

Housing Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:  

"Today’s figures demonstrate that by working hand in hand with councils, charities and faith groups, the government has made huge progress towards ending rough sleeping and responded to the danger posed by the pandemic in an internationally recognised way.

"At the beginning of the pandemic we took swift and decisive action from the very start to bring rough sleepers in from the streets and settled them into longer- term accommodation in record numbers through our transformational Everyone In initiative. That work continues, the results are clear and a huge credit to all involved.

"Ending rough sleeping is a personal mission for the Prime Minister and me – and we have made huge progress since he came into No.10 reducing rough sleeping by 43%. There is more to do, but I am determined to continue to drive progress forward backed by £750 million in funding."

Cllr James Jamieson, Local Government Association Chairman, said:

"Councils, working closely with central government, have put in a monumental effort since the start of the pandemic and the Everyone In initiative to rapidly get the vast majority of people sleeping rough off the streets and into safe and suitable accommodation.

"This collective response shows what can be achieved when all parts of the public and voluntary sector pull together towards a shared goal, and it is good the government is continuing to support this with further vital funding announced today.

"But one person sleeping on the streets is one too many, and councils want to build on the success of Everyone In and work with government on a cross-departmental homelessness prevention strategy to end rough sleeping and make sure nobody suffers the tragedy of becoming homeless."

The drivers and root-causes of rough sleeping and homelessness are complex, with research showing that 53% of participants who had slept rough were ex-prisoners, 60% had substance misuse needs and 82% had mental health support needs. This is a health challenge as much as a housing one.

That’s why, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is leading a cross-government drive to eliminate rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament – with £750 million being spent over the next year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

This includes the largest ever investment in longer-term move on accommodation, with 6,000 new homes pledged by the end of this Parliament and 3,000 of those by the end of this year.

But one person sleeping on the streets is one too many

Mr Jenrick today announced an additional £6.4 million for voluntary organisations to provide accommodation and referral services for rough sleepers. This includes funding for covid-safe emergency accommodation, longer term accommodation, a national helpline and training and support to professionals working to end homelessness.  

The Housing Secretary and the Minister for Rough Sleeping Eddie Hughes MP will today speak at a virtual event hosted by The Centre for Social Justice acknowledging the work of councils, and voluntary sector organisations in the huge progress made over the last year and set out the government’s focus on health and housing.

The government has also published a Mobilising Housing First toolkit as part of an evaluation process of the ongoing £28 million funded Housing First pilots helping rough sleepers in Greater Manchester (GMCA), the West Midlands (WMCA), and the Liverpool City Region (LCRA). This will help to identify best practice in implementing Housing First at scale.