• Councils to receive £203 million Rough Sleeping Initiative funding to help people off the streets – an 81% increase from the £112 million provided last year
  • Funding will provide 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff
  • Analysis shows programme has reduced rough sleeping by 32%
  • Part of £750 million pledged to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping this year

More rough sleepers are set to be helped off the streets and into safe accommodation thanks to a further £203 million funding, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP announced today (15 May 2021).

The funding will be allocated to councils across England and will support vital projects such as shelters, specialist mental health or addiction services, and targeted support to help rough sleepers off the streets for good.

It will be used by councils, charities and other local groups to fund up to 14,500 bed spaces and 2,700 support staff across England.

This funding is one part of an unprecedented £750 million investment this year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping – part of the government’s drive to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.

Analysis of the Rough Sleeping Initiative – now in its fourth year – shows that the programme has reduced rough sleeping by almost a third compared to areas which have not taken part in the programme.

Building on the past success of the programme, funding has almost doubled this year and will provide additional support to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of people sleeping rough across England has fallen for the third year in a row, and by 37% in the last year alone.

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

At the beginning of the pandemic we took swift and decisive action to bring rough sleepers in from the streets and settled them into longer-term accommodation in record numbers. That work continues, the results are clear and are 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%.

To build on this progress, we are making the biggest ever investment under the Rough Sleeping Initiative to provide vital services to those who need it most, as part of our drive to end rough sleeping for good.

Minister for Rough Sleeping, Eddie Hughes MP said:

Across the country, there are staff and volunteers working tirelessly to make a real difference to the lives of rough sleepers.

From providing bed spaces and night shelters, to funding dedicated support staff and medical treatment, today’s funding will mean that crucial work to help people off the streets can continue.

This is part of an unprecedented £750 million of government investment this year to help us reach our goal of ending rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.

The Rough Sleeping Initiative was launched in 2018 to help local areas provide tailored services to those living on the streets. With today’s investment, the government has now allocated almost £400 million to 281 councils through the programme – which supports coordinated projects across areas including housing, mental health, addiction support and domestic abuse.

Examples of the work that the government is funding at a local level include:

  • Rough sleepers in Birmingham will be offered a Befriending service to help them to stay in accommodation and manage the transition into housing. The service will help rough sleepers with cooking, shopping, utility management, and access to benefits.

  • North Norfolk will work with Your Own Place to provide tenancy skills training and money management support to rough sleepers moving off the streets into rental accommodation.

  • In North Lincolnshire, an Education and Training coordinator will build a Skills and Wellbeing pathway for rough sleepers to allow people to build up their confidence, learn new skills such as IT, literacy and CV writing, and is critical to improving confidence and wellbeing.

  • In Newham an Assessment Centre will provide an immediate offer of accommodation away from the streets where rough sleepers can have their needs quickly assessed to minimise time on the streets

Funding from previous years of the programme is already having a transformational effect at a local level with local authorities reporting significant falls in the number of rough sleepers.

Today’s announcement comes after the government made an additional £212 million investment in new, secure, long-term accommodation for rough sleepers earlier this year, with 6,000 homes pledged by the end of this Parliament.

This is alongside the government’s unprecedented Everyone In initiative, launched by the Housing Secretary at the start of the pandemic to protect rough sleepers, which has so far supported 37,000 people, with more than 26,000 already moved on to longer-term accommodation.

Further information

Examples of the work funded by the Rough Sleeping Initiative to date include:

  • In Reading, funding from RSI has been used to establish a housing led service to provide a range of accommodation options for people. The council has also used MHCLG funding to provide an out of hours tenancy support service which is available when many other services are not.

  • Basingstoke and Deane Council used government funding to work with a team of psychologists at Southampton University to provide bespoke support to rough sleepers, as well as support for staff. Over the last 3 months the council has consistently reported zero rough sleepers.

  • Mansfield District Council, alongside Action Housing, have set up an allotment project for residents currently living in temporary accommodation. In recent months, support workers have purchased outdoor clothing and equipment for residents to help them plant what they want.

  • Plymouth City Council set up the Plymouth Alliance – bringing together service providers to deliver a rapid and flexible response to rough sleeping. With social distancing meaning that existing shared accommodation was not suitable, the council worked with a local Housing Association to create innovative “amazing grace spaces” – self-contained pods providing emergency accommodation for those in need.

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    Councils given further £200 million in next stage of successful rough sleeping programme

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