The conclusions of the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping demonstrate why the government’s Spending Review should boost investment in local services, London Councils said today.
Welcoming the launch of the Kerslake Commission’s final report, London Councils highlighted that multi-year homelessness funding grants are needed to help local authorities plan longer-term service provision and use resources as effectively as possible.
The cross-party group also supports the report’s conclusion that a range of frontline local services – including welfare and immigration, mental health, substance misuse, and housing advice – all play an important role in tackling rough sleeping and homelessness and require adequate funding.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ Executive Member for Housing & Planning – and a member of the Kerslake Commission – said:
“This report sets out clearly, comprehensively, and constructively the action required to end rough sleeping altogether. “London is at the epicentre of this crisis. We face the highest rates of rough sleeping and homelessness in the country and boroughs are determined to do everything we can to address this.
“The success of the Everyone In initiative showed how quickly change can happen thanks to effective partnerships and adequate government funding. Now we need longer-term commitments from the government to boost local services and empower us to achieve our shared ambitions.”
Following the launch of ‘Everyone In’ last year, more than 5,000 former rough sleepers in the capital are now in settled accommodation. A further 1,800 people remain in short-term emergency accommodation such as hostels and hundreds more are still on the streets of the capital.
As well as rough sleepers, London boroughs face immense resource pressures in finding accommodation for other homeless households in the capital. Homelessness has skyrocketed since 2010 and there are currently around 165,000 Londoners in temporary accommodation arranged by their local borough – more than the entire population of cities like Norwich or Oxford. Around two thirds (63%) of the total number of homeless families in England are based in the capital.
Local authorities currently receive most of their resources for homelessness services through the core funding provided by the government. Any additional and specific funding for rough sleeping is only made available on a year-to-year basis.
In its submission to the Spending Review, London Councils is instead seeking multi-year grants for homelessness to give boroughs greater certainty when planning service provision. The umbrella group is also calling for the government to increase overall funding for local authorities by 5 per cent each year, pointing out that London boroughs have seen a 25 per cent reduction in government funding over the past decade.