Thank you for contacting me about rough sleeping.
I firmly believe that just one person without a roof over their head is one too many, and it is vitally important that the most vulnerable people in society, including homeless people and rough sleepers, are helped to get their lives back on track. That is why I am pleased over £1.2 billion has been allocated to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping through to 2020.
St Mungo's does excellent work in tackling rough sleeping and homelessness, and is a member of the Government-backed rough sleeping advisory panel set up in 2018, which focusses on rough sleeping prevention, intervention, recovery and support. Whilst the number of rough sleepers declined in 2018 compared to the previous year, more needs to be done to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. This is why in January 2019 the Government announced a £500 million boost in funding for housing associations to build 11,000 more affordable homes, including properties for social rent. This will help reach the target of building 300,000 properties each year by the mid-2020s.
I welcome the launch of a new £100 million Rough Sleeping Strategy expected to provide rapid support to up to 6,000 vulnerable people either new to the streets or at risk of becoming rough sleepers. This will complement the £28 million Housing First pilots which are supporting the most entrenched rough sleepers off the streets by providing them with stable accommodation and intensive wrap-around support.
Furthermore, I am glad that the Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious legislative reform for tackling homelessness in decades, has recently come into force. This Act, praised by St Mungo's, requires councils to provide early support to people at risk of homelessness.
I am confident that these measures will reduce homelessness across our country and help to achieve the aim of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.
I will try and attend the Westminster Hall Debate on rough sleeping on Thursday 7 February depending on my Parliamentary commitments that day.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.