Government commits to early help for those at risk of losing their home

A new report in August set out a cross-Government approach to ensuring that anyone at risk of homelessness gets help at the earliest possible stage to prevent them from losing their home.

The Making Every Contact Count report details commitments from Government to stop homelessness where possible and ensure that the nation’s safety net of support for those without a roof over their head remains purely a last resort.

Alongside this, the then Housing Minister Grant Shapps reaffirmed ongoing efforts to ensure that no-one has to spend more than one night on the streets, with a further £3.5 million for more homelessness help and to roll out the ‘No Second Night Out’ initiative (on which we have previously written here) across the country.

Mr Shapps commented that the report would give councils, charities, health services and the police a blueprint to work together to ensure that families and vulnerable people at risk of homelessness are offered help early, regardless of who they choose to turn to.

The Government wants to help them achieve:

  • earlier support for young people, former prisoners, and patients with mental health, drug or alcohol problems;
  • better cross-service work between the voluntary sector, councils, health services and the justice system;
  • financial advice and jobseeking support through the voluntary sector, Jobcentre Plus and the work programme;
  • new funding mechanisms, including the Government’s innovative new payment-by-results scheme; and
  • a new homelessness ‘gold standard’ that all local services should aim to achieve, setting the benchmark for services across the country.

The Minister said that this early intervention approach is backed up by new statistics which show that 199,000 households were last year given help to stay in their homes or find new places to live. This vital support, such as repossession, tenancy or debt advice and re-housing services, can get people back on track before they face losing their home.

On top of this, a further £3.5 million to 21 homelessness charities will support schemes for rough sleepers and extend the ‘No Second Night Out‘ initiative to eight more areas – Manchester, Plymouth, Great Yarmouth, North Devon, Taunton, Gloucestershire, Chichester and Worcestershire.

The funding hopes to support:

  • two ‘Nightstop’ emergency accommodation service for young people prevent them from living on the streets, or living long-term in B&Bs;
  • Housing First accommodation for ex rough sleepers to help them rebuild their lives and get into long term housing rather than hostels;
  • a No Second Night Out project and a supported private rented homes scheme for rough sleepers in Plymouth;
  • a No Second Night Out team at Worcestershire’s St Paul’s Hostel to work with rough sleepers and support those moving to long term accommodation; and
  • improving co-ordination and information sharing between day centres and voluntary services in Manchester’s Day Centres, including a No Second Night Out service.

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