I am pleased the Government has announced allocations of a £112 million Rough Sleeping Initiative fund to provide local support for those living on the streets.
The Government announced the Rough Sleeping Initiative in March 2018 to make an immediate impact on rough sleeping. The impact evaluation of the initiative (published September 2019) demonstrated that it drove the first national reduction in rough sleeping in almost a decade. The analysis demonstrated a 32% net reduction in the number of rough sleepers, compared to what the level would have been had the initiative not been in place.
To build on the Rough Sleeping Initiative, the Government launched the Rapid Rehousing Pathway. This approach includes funding for Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs, which provide warm and dry shelter, rapid assessment, and support to people who are already, or at risk of, sleeping rough; specialist Navigators, who act as a single point of contact to support people from the streets into settled accommodation; the establishment of Local Lettings Agencies to source, identify, or provide homes and advice for rough sleepers or those at risk; and funding for Supported Lettings initiatives, which will provide flexible support to help individuals sustain their tenancies.
For the next financial year, the Rough Sleeping Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway have been combined to form one consolidated funding pot for 2020/21.
As part of this, Merton Council have been awarded £303,500.
With this funding, Merton Council should be able to enhance services that connect people with the right support and sustainable housing to move them swiftly away from the street and facilitate their recovery.
I hope Merton Council will be working closely with local charities such as Faith in Action as part of this.