What are the next steps for ending rough sleeping in England?
Tuesday, 06 October 2020, 13:00 - 14:00
Rough sleepers were in some ways uniquely exposed to Covid-19 as it reached our shores. Guidance to ‘stay at home’ rang hollow for those without one. Many people in busy night shelters were simply unable to self-isolate as others in stable homes could. And compounding these risks, rough sleepers are three times more likely to suffer from chronic health problems than the general population, including respiratory conditions.
In response, the Government acted swiftly and decisively to shield this vulnerable cohort. Indeed, in an unprecedented move, the Housing Secretary instructed local authorities to house everyone identified as sleeping rough, as well as those in night shelters and hostels where it was not possible to self-isolate, with immediate effect. This initiative, supported by a £3.2m fund to reimburse local authorities, resulted in some 15,000 people moving into self-contained emergency accommodation, including hotels and B&Bs.
We now know that the political will to address rough sleeping can be found. But the challenges facing government are significant. The ongoing economic devastation of Covid-19 risks creating a new wave of homeless individuals and families. Levels of social housebuilding remain extremely low by historical standards. And the interventions needed to help turn the most complex lives around – such as Housing First – have not yet grown beyond regional pilots.
It is in this context that the Centre for Social Justice is asking: what are the next steps to ending rough sleeping in England?
Chair: Camilla Tominey
Camilla Tominey is the Associate Editor of The Daily Telegraph.
Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP
Robert Jenrick is the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Sally-Ann Hart MP
Sally-Ann Hart is the MP for Hastings and Rye
Tim is a Trustee of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust
Louise is the CEO of the Brick, a charity that works with the homeless.
Joe is the Head of the CSJ’s Housing Unit.