This extra £66m will aim to provide safe and warm accommodation for those without a home over winter. This comes as welcome news after a year of hard knocks to finances and issues with keeping up with rental payments leaving many homeless.
Between the period of April to June 2021 91 families were being made homeless every day in England
This shocking statistic, also paired with the fact that a total of 183,290 households had been ‘tipped into homelessness’ since March 2020, as Shelter reported, lays bare the adverse impact that the pandemic has had on people’s financial stability and living situations.
The planned accommodation that this funding will allow, will be paired with treatments for drug and alcohol dependency, to give people the chance to ‘turn their lives around by ending the cycle of addiction.’
The government has said this is building on the success on the Everyone In initiative that brought 37,000 people off the street and into longer term accommodation during the pandemic. This announcement, that came on the 29th of October, will ‘help to deliver the government’s commitment to end rough sleeping by 2024’, they have said in their statement.
The breakdown of the £66m
- More than 60 councils will be allocated a ‘share’ of the £52m Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant scheme which will create specialist support services for those without a home and those at risk – this will include one-to-one support and mentoring.
- Community groups including, volunteer based charities and faith groups have been awarded multiple grants from the £3.8m Homelessness Transformation Fund, to ensure both shared and self-contained accommodation is Covid-safe.
- Finally, emergency accommodation with be provided for up to 3,500 people without a home, with a focus on those areas most in need over the winter months, this coming from the £10m Winter Pressures Fund.
The government is dedicating increased amounts of funding to ensure safe beds for people, to get them off the street over the next three years, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Eddie Hughes said:
“Rough sleepers are some of the most vulnerable people in our society and we must help them off the streets and end the plight of rough sleeping once and for all. That means providing somewhere safe and warm for them to stay, and this funding will be a lifeline for thousands as the temperature drops this winter. We are also helping those trapped in drug and alcohol addiction and giving them the stability they need to turn their lives around.”
- See also: 'A personal story of hidden homelessness and its circular relationship with mental health'
- See also: 'Renters’ mental health being adversely affected by poor conditions, Shelter warns'
- See also: 'How Amy Winehouse lives on in addiction recovery support for women'
However, some might argue that providing emergency housing, might only be creating a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Shelter has said:
“While the government’s benefits support for people in work will provide a vital lifeline for some, it won’t help everyone in need. The months ahead are going to be very hard with soaring food and energy prices on top of extortionate and rising rents. If struggling families are to stand a chance at recovery, the government has to build decent social homes - it is the only solution to homelessness that will last.”
It is clear that immediate accommodation is needed now, for those already without homes, to prevent illness, turning to drugs and alcohol, or even death over the cold months ahead. As such, this funding is welcome news to help those who are already vulnerable.
However, as Polly Neate from Shelter emphasised, it is in social housing and real affordable rental housing that will allow the people in our society who are always going to be vulnerable to homelessness – those living under the poverty line – to be more secure, and ultimately more mentally healthy as a result.