Posted on: 10 October, 2023
On 25th September, the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping published their 2023 report “Turning the tide on Rising Homelessness and Rough Sleeping”. The report highlights the urgent action needed to eradicate homelessness amidst alarming rising rates of rough sleeping in the UK.
The report, written by Secretariat St Mungo’s, states that the government will not reach the target to end rough sleeping by 2024, revealing that rough sleeping shockingly rose by 26% in 2022. Ending rough sleeping by 2024 was a key manifesto pledge for the Conservative party and concerns are further compounded by rising house prices and the cost of living crisis.
Cranstoun welcomes the recommendations presented in this report. The emphasis on greater support for homelessness prevention includes increasing the supply of social and supported housing and an accessible trauma-informed health and social care system; a guaranteed offer of emergency accommodation for those at risk of rough sleeping; and a person-centred and tailored route out of rough sleeping to encapsulate differences of the rough sleeping population.
Greater work and attention should be focused on the prevention of homelessness, tackling the issue upstream. With only 5% of private rental properties being affordable for Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates, the number of people living in temporary accommodation is at an unprecedented level, and 92% of homeless service providers are concerned about their ability to keep up with rising costs and demands. Consequently, there is a fear that this will lead to a further increase in rough sleeping. A systematic change needs to be made and we echo the call for the government to take immediate action on their response to this ever-growing problem.
Cranstoun welcomes the call to action for the next administration to commit to Housing First nationally and in the long term. As a provider of Housing First services, we believe and witness the evidence base for these services and this approach. Housing First is an effective solution for those who are entrenched in rough sleeping patterns and provides support holistically for diverse communities and needs, most importantly putting a roof over the heads of those who may be most likely to be sleeping rough.
The report calls for an urgent action to restore Local Housing Allowance rates to cover the bottom 30th percentile of local rents. LHA is not always preventing homelessness; the restrictions are causing it in some instances. With steep increases in rents and an average £372 deficit between LHA and cost of cheapest monthly rent, urgent action to increase LHA rates will be imperative to reducing the increasing levels of homelessness and rough sleeping, as well as moving those on from supported housing.
Cranstoun advocates for a Whole System, multi-disciplinary approach where homelessness is not just about housing, but prioritising and supporting the diverse needs of those at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping. No two incidents of people experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping are the same, therefore it is essential that a commitment to a tailored strategy, putting the person first, is at the heart of the Government’s approach.
Tragically the average death of someone who is registered homeless is just 45 years old. We welcome this report to address the inequality of experience that those experiencing or at risk of homelessness endure. We advocate for joined-up health, social and support services to assist those experiencing homelessness. We work to be trauma-informed and address multi-disadvantages that can lead to further inequalities.
As a charity that supports those from different groups who are all vulnerable and at risk of homelessness, we agree with the suggested recommendations, and we believe they are imperative for the empowerment of the people we serve. Safe, secure and affordable housing is the groundwork that enables people to engage with support for other issues they are facing, whether it be domestic abuse, substance use or financial hardship.
We have witnessed this country’s ability to reduce rough sleeping in the Covid-19 crisis and therefore know it is possible, with dedication and attention to the systems that will support those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We support the reports call for urgent action to prevent homelessness and support those who are already rough sleeping.
Cranstoun echo the call for immediate action to address the rising numbers of homelessness and rough sleeping. The lack of infrastructure, long-term funding and attention to this issue, is only compounding and increasing the problem. We believe a Whole System approach with multi-disciplinary services that look at the whole problem of homelessness and rough sleeping. This can only work alongside commitment to increasing the LHA as well as the building of social housing and a guaranteed offer of emergency accommodation.
Overall, the Kerslake report is an invaluable document which lays bare the desperate need for action and revised planning to tackle the worrying increase of people sleeping rough and homelessness.