To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of the availability of emergency accommodation for people with nowhere safe to stay in the next 12 months.
19 October 2020
Government has taken significant steps, backed by substantial funding to bring forward support and accommodation for rough sleepers. During the pandemic, we have worked closely with local authorities and the sector to offer vulnerable people safe accommodation and support. That work is ongoing and in September we had successfully supported over 29,000 people, with over 10,000 in emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 provided with settled accommodation or move on support. This work was supported by the £4.8 billion that Government has given to local authorities to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, which includes their work on rough sleeping.
Additionally, we launched the £266 million Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP). This makes available the financial resources needed to support local authorities and their partners to prevent these people from returning to the streets. The NSAP?is?made up of two?parts, the first part which funds immediate support to ensure people and the rest to bring forward long-term accommodation and move-on support.
On 17 September we announced local authority allocations for the short-term funding aspect of the Next Steps Accommodation Programme. £91.5 million was allocated to 274 councils in England to help vulnerable people housed during the pandemic.
Applications are now being considered for the rest of the fund which is intended to provide over 3,300 additional supported homes this year for those sleeping rough or currently housed in emergency accommodation. The bidding has now closed and details on successful bids will be announced in due course. This is part of broader support to provide 6,000 such homes over four years.
Finally, on 13 October, the Government announced additional support for rough sleepers this winter, giving local areas the tools they need to protect people from life-threatening cold weather and the risks posed by COVID-19.
This additional support builds on the existing package of support and funding, and includes: a new £10 million Cold Weather Fund for local areas to bring forward self-contained and COVID-secure accommodation; a new £2 million Transformation Fund for the faith, communities and voluntary sector to move away from their traditional communal models; and comprehensive guidance to the sector, produced with Public Health England and Homeless Link, to help them open shelters more safely, as a last resort and where not doing so would endanger lives.