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Britain could end homelessness in ten years - new Crisis report

3 Jul 2018 - 11:45 by helen.walker

Britain could end homelessness within 10 years with the right measures in place, says a landmark report by the charity Crisis, backed by high-profile figures such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dame Louise Casey, and international homelessness experts.

Everybody In: How to end homelessness in Great Britain resets the current approach to homelessness and sets out the exact government policies needed to end it for good. It finds that everyone who is homeless could have a stable home within 10 years if the measures are adopted in full.

The plan comprises extensive new research, working with experts such as the Chartered Institute of Housing, Heriot-Watt University, National Housing Federation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. It has also been endorsed by experts in the US, Canada, and Finland who are leading highly successful movements to end homelessness in their countries.

Crisis is calling on all political parties to commit to ending homelessness. It is also calling for the governments of England, Scotland and Wales to produce an action plan that, once delivered, will get everybody who is homeless into a safe and stable home within 10 years.

There are currently 236,000 people across England, Scotland, and Wales who are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness: this includes people living on the streets, in cars and tents, in shelters, or in unsuitable temporary accommodation. An average of three homeless people have died every week on UK streets since last October, recent research from the Bureau for Investigative Journalism revealed, showing the increasing dangers of homelessness.

The report findings include:

- 100,500 social homes need to be built each year for the next 15 years to meet the needs of both homeless people and the wider cohort of people in Britain on low incomes – including those at risk of homelessness
- A national rollout of Housing First would benefit more than 18,000 homeless people, by providing homes that come with a package of specialised support.

Drawing on evidence of what works, the plan also sets out the policies needed to support people once they are housed. This includes better rights and longer tenancies for private renters, and reforming housing benefits so they meet the true cost of private renting. Ending homelessness will also require hospitals, prisons, the care system, and other parts of the state to play a role, the research finds. These organisations should be legally required to help prevent people leaving their care from becoming homeless. The plan also proposes that job centres have homelessness specialists.

PwC has estimated the costs and benefits of the most targeted policies in the plan. They found that, over the next decade, these policies would cost £9.9 billion and deliver benefits worth £26.4 billion. This means that for every £1 invested, an estimated benefit of £2.70 would be generated. While these benefits are significant, the moral argument for ending homelessness is equally important. Rough sleepers are 17 times more likely to be victims of violence, previous research from Crisis has shown.

Along with the newly commissioned research, the plan is the result of an 8-month consultation involving hundreds of frontline workers and people who have experienced homelessness.

Crisis is encouraging the public to get involved by emailing their MP, MSP or Assembly Member and asking them to call on their party leader to commit to ending homelessness.

A copy of the report is available from the Crisis website

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