Today the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has called on all parts of government to commit to a common approach to ending homelessness, and ensure that people with multiple and complex needs receive the support they need.
Publishing a report on its inquiry into homelessness, the Committee made specific recommendations for government, and backed a private members bill on homelessness prevention. Chair Clive Betts MP said:
“The scale of homelessness is now such that a renewed Government strategy is a must. It needs to not only help those who are homeless but also prevent those vulnerable families and individuals who are at risk of becoming homeless from joining them. All Departments will need to subscribe to this common approach and contribute to ending homelessness.”
The MEAM coalition partners welcome this important report, and particularly its call for a cross-government strategy to end homelessness. Coalition director Oliver Hilbery and Homeless Link’s head of policy Helen Mathie gave evidence to the inquiry, alongside Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk and the No Recourse to Public Funds Network.
We are pleased that the Committee recognised the need to support homeless people experiencing multiple and complex needs including vulnerable women, care leavers, people with mental health and substance misuse problems, ex-offenders and those who have been affected by trauma and abuse. These individuals face challenges that require a specific and coordinated approach.
The report calls also calls on government to:
- Develop a new cross-departmental strategy to end homelessness
- Review the funding of mental health services for homeless people and develop a clear action plan for change
- Support the Homelessness Reduction Bill 2016-17, introduced by Bob Blackman MP and backed by a broad coalition of charities including Homeless Link. The proposed legislation has been published also today and sponsored by the Committee
- Exempt all supported accommodation from the proposed reductions to the level of social housing rents and Local Housing Allowance, and provide supported housing providers with “the certainty they need to plan ahead and deliver services”
A response from the government is expected later this year and the Committee will review progress on its recommendations in a year’s time.
The MEAM coalition will continue to work with its partners, frontline services and people with lived experience to advise and challenge government on homelessness and related needs.