Homelessness ‘will soar without support service’ report warns

A New report by the Salvation Army is calling on the Government to fund homelessness support services properly in this autumns comprehensive spending review (CSR).

Without this, it warns that homelessness will soar, and that families will be forced into expensive and unsuitable accommodation, as councils struggle to manage rising homelessness levels.

Rough sleeper in doorway

The charity’s report, “Future-proof the roof” sets out a range of solutions to sustain the progress made in recent months in helping rough sleepers off the streets. It says that temporary accommodation cost councils nearly £1 billion last year.

Swale Borough Council Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Ben J Martin (Lib Dem) said “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the significant challenges councils already faced supporting homeless people. Despite significantly increasing Swale’s budget for Temporary Accommodation for this year and introducing a homelessness prevention team we are already seeing increasing pressure on the budget. In the short term, to prevent any immediate rise in homelessness, the government needs to bring forward its pledge to end ‘no fault evictions’ which would help reduce the number of people being evicted. The Government must also commit to ensuring that Local Housing Allowance Rates (LHA) can fully cover the cost of average local private rents.”

Cllr Ben J Martin

Ben continued “We are already taking significant steps to address homelessness and affordable housing in Swale but there must also be a commitment from central government to provide proper long-term funding for councils to provide homelessness support services. The CSR must also ensure that funding and powers are provided to councils to deliver a genuine renaissance of council house building that can help get rough sleepers off the streets for good, provide truly affordable housing for families, support people’s wellbeing and is climate friendly. Every one deserves a warm, safe place to live that they can afford.”

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