Theresa May has declared her aim to help homeless people “turn their lives around” as the Government launched a £100 million plan to end rough sleeping on England’s streets by 2027.
The strategy was welcomed by homelessness charities, who said it would make a “real difference” to people’s lives.
However, they warned it will not provide a “total fix” for homelessness, which would require a significant increase in social housing, more security for renters and the reversal of policies which leave migrants homeless.
The new strategy, revealed by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire on Saturday ahead of its official launch on Monday, will offer support with mental health and addictions as well as help with accommodation.
Based on a three-pronged approach of prevention, intervention and recovery, it focuses on efforts to stop people becoming homeless in the first place, with swift, targeted support to get those in crisis off the streets and into long-term housing.
The strategy includes £50 million for homes outside London for people ready to move on from hostels or refuges and £30 million for mental health support for rough sleepers.
A new network of specialist “navigators” will help rough sleepers access services and accommodation.
There will be training for frontline staff on how to help people under the influence of artificial cannabinoid Spice.
Ministers are also expected to review legislation on homelessness and rough sleeping, including the Vagrancy Act, which dates back to 1824 and still makes it illegal to sleep rough or beg in England and Wales.
Around 4,751 people are estimated to sleep rough on any given night in England.
Mrs May said: “Nobody should have to sleep rough and that’s why we must do all we can to help the most vulnerable in our society get the support they need.
“But we recognise this is a complex issue – as well as ensuring people have somewhere to live, we have to deal with underlying problems and ultimately help people turn their lives around.”
Picture: A homeless person outside Victoria Station in London. Theresa May has declared her aim to help homeless people “turn their lives around” as the Government launched a £100 million plan to end rough sleeping on England’s streets by 2027. (Victoria Jones/PA).