NATIONAL: Government to spend Â£100m to '˜end rough sleeping'
PRIME minister Theresa May has declared her aim to help homeless people '˜turn their lives around'Â as the government launchesÂ a Â£100mÂ plan to end rough sleeping.
The strategy was welcomed by homelessness charities, who said it was a significant step towards meeting the Conservative manifesto commitment to halve rough sleeping by the end of this parliament and eliminate it by 2027.
However, they warned it will not provide a '˜total fix'Â for homelessness, which would require a significant increase in social housing, more security for renters and the reversal of policies which leave migrants homeless.
The new strategy, revealed by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire on Saturday ahead of its official launch today, will offer support with mental health and addictions as well as help with accommodation.
Based on a three-pronged approach of prevention, intervention and recovery, it focuses on efforts to stop people becoming homeless in the first place, with swift, targeted support to get those in crisis off the streets and into long-term housing.
The strategy includes Â£50 million for homes outside London for people ready to move on from hostels or refuges and Â£30 million for mental health support for rough sleepers.
Mrs May said: '˜Nobody should have to sleep rough and that's why we must do all we can to help the most vulnerable in our society get the support they need.
'˜But we recognise this is a complex issue - as well as ensuring people have somewhere to live, we have to deal with underlying problems and ultimately help people turn their lives around.'
In a joint statement, seven homelessness charities who advised on the strategy said it would '˜make a real difference to people's lives'.
However, the charities - Crisis, Homeless Link, National Housing Federation, Shelter, St Basil's, St Mungo's and Thames Reach - warned: '˜For the strategy to work, the government must also set out bold, cross-departmental plans to tackle the root causes of all forms of homelessness and prevent it from happening in the first place.'
Labour's shadow housing secretary John Healey dismissed the strategy as '˜a feeble plan that lacks any urgency to tackle the crisis of rising rough sleeping'.