I believe that, in a civilized society, it is unacceptable that people should be faced with the fear of homelessness and it is vitally important to help the most vulnerable in society get their lives back on track.
A Ministerial Working Group was set up in 2010 in order to tackle the problems behind rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness. Their report, 'Making Every Contact Count' provided the blueprint for councils, charities, health services and the police to work together to tackle homelessness.
Since then, over £500 million has been made available to give councils and the voluntary sector the tools needed to tackle homelessness. The £20 million Homelessness Transition Fund, for instance, is helping the national roll-out of the 'No Second Night Out' scheme ensuring that rough sleepers do not spend more than one night on the street. In 20 rough sleeping areas outside London, homelessness charities reported that 67 per cent of rough sleepers were helped off the streets after a single night. Alongside this, the 'StreetLink' initiative provides a national hotline to connect rough sleepers to local services.
I am further encouraged that the Government has provided £10 million funding to the National Homelessness Advice service to support frontline staff and introduced the £8 million Help for Single Homeless Fund. It is estimated that this will help 22,000 people in 168 areas across England by April 2016. A total of £55 million has also been made available for the Homelessness Change and Platform for Life programmes. The former of which aims to improve the physical and mental health outcomes for rough sleepers and support them towards independent living.
Rest assured, the Government will continue to tackle this wide-ranging issue.