Homelessness and Rough Sleeping

Thank you for contacting me about homelessness and rough sleeping.

Like you, I firmly believe that just one person without a roof over their head is one too many, and I welcome the important work that Crisis does to help people find their way out of homelessness. Furthermore, I am glad that there is so much overlap between the ideas Crisis have raised in their recent report and the Government’s plan to end rough sleeping by 2027.

I firmly believe that just one person without a roof over their head is one too many, and it is vitally important that the most vulnerable people in society, including homeless people and rough sleepers, are helped to get their lives back on track.

The Government has a strong record of preventing and relieving homelessness. Across England, since 2010, there have been over 1. 6 million cases of homelessness prevention and relief. This includes 7,558 cases within our local authority of Calderdale. While this is welcome progress, there is much more to be done, which is why I am glad that over £1.2 billion has been allocated through to 2020 towards tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. Across Calderdale, six people were counted as sleeping rough in 2017.

I welcome the launch of a new £100 million Rough Sleeping Strategy expected to provide rapid support to up to 6,000 vulnerable people either new to the streets or at risk of becoming rough sleepers. This will complement the £28 million Housing First pilots which are supporting the most entrenched rough sleepers to escape from living on the streets by providing them with stable accommodation and intensive all-round support.

Furthermore, I am glad that the Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious legislative reform for tackling homelessness in decades, has recently come into force. This Act, praised by both Shelter and Crisis, requires councils to provide early support to people at risk of homelessness.

On the issue of social housing, I welcome recent statistics which show that more than three times as much council housing has been built since 2010 than in the previous 13 years. That said, I agree with Crisis that more needs to be done, and I am confident that the £9 billion Affordable Homes Programme will help deliver more social housing.

I am confident that, working together with leading experts on homelessness, the Government will achieve the aim of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

December 2018