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Following the determined effort from charities, London boroughs and City Hall to house rough sleepers during the Covid-19 pandemic, which was supported by the Government, this new funding will provide long-term accommodation for those currently living in hotels, hostels or other supported housing.
The Government’s ‘Next Steps Accommodation Programme’ is a £433m four-year national fund to deliver longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers. £160m is being made available nationally for homes to be delivered by the end of 2020/21, £66.7m of which has been secured by the Mayor.
The fund will be used to deliver self-contained accommodation at affordable rents. These homes will be ready for tenants by spring 2021. The 900 homes created by the fund will complement the 2,700 homes for homeless people already provided in London via the Mayor’s Clearing House service.
The funding is not only made up of capital funding for the development, acquisition or refurbishment of homes, but also a very significant element of revenue funding – something the Mayor has long lobbied for. This means that for every home delivered, up to four years’ support can be funded. The funding is also highly flexible so it can be used for a wide variety of schemes and approaches on a capital or revenue-only basis, or a combination of both.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The extraordinary effort to house London’s rough sleepers during the pandemic has saved hundreds of lives and allowed many homeless people to access health and welfare services for the first time.
“But this work will be wasted if we don’t have suitable accommodation for people to move into for the long-term. That’s why I’m pleased to have secured this substantial investment, which will help provide a stable future for hundreds of formerly homeless Londoners.
“There is still much more to do to tackle rough sleeping which will require greater support from the Government, including better protection for London’s two million renters to prevent homelessness, funding to maintain hotel accommodation for as long as it’s required and more support for rough sleepers with no recourse to public funds. But this funding for long-term homes is a big step forward in our mission to end homelessness in London for good.”
Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Luke Hall MP said: “The huge efforts of councils, charities and volunteers to bring everyone in off the streets has given us an unprecedented opportunity to help to find long term accommodation for rough sleepers in the capital.
“This fund will help them to rebuild their lives with a safe place to call home. Nationally, almost 15,000 vulnerable people have been accommodated as we work to break the cycle of homelessness and end rough sleeping for good by the end of this parliament.”