Thank you for contacting me about tackling homelessness.
I warmly welcome your passion for ending homelessness once and for all, and I want to assure you that this is something shared by myself and my ministerial colleagues. I have consistently advocated for affordable homes to rent, especially emphasising the importance of high-quality social housing where people can enjoy a safe and comfortable living environment. As your Member of Parliament, I have always been determined to solve the escalating homelessness crisis in Hastings and Rye and have successfully secured millions of pounds of funding for Hastings Borough Council to help them deal with this.
I read Crisis’s recent report with interest and I sincerely recognise the very real costs of homelessness highlighted in the research, both to individuals and to society. I completely and wholeheartedly agree that everyone deserves a safe and stable place to call home. Through the Renters (Reform) Bill, the Government will abolish Section 21 evictions which will give tenants greater security without the threat of a ‘no fault’ eviction. There is also a firm commitment to delivering more social and genuinely affordable homes, underpinned by the £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme (2021-26) which will deliver tens of thousands of new homes. I note that Crisis’s research draws on the particular importance of social rent, which is why you may be interested to know that the Government has proposed amending national planning guidance to make clear that local planning authorities should place greater importance on social rent.
The Government is investing £2 billion between 2022 and 2025 to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, targeted to areas where it is needed most. This will work alongside the ‘Ending Rough Sleeping for Good’ strategy which puts prevention at the heart of the Government’s plans to end rough sleeping once and for all. I was encouraged to see the strategy set an ambition for no one to leave a public institution – whether that’s a prison, hospital or care – to the streets. I have been assured that the Government is committed to reducing the need for temporary accommodation by preventing homelessness before it occurs. I understand that, since 2018, over 640,000 households have been prevented from becoming homeless or supported into settled accommodation through the Homelessness Reduction Act.
Rightly, Government funding for accommodation for people facing homelessness reflects the fact that there is no one size fits all approach. There is, for example, a £10 million Night Shelter Transformation Fund to increase the availability of quality single-room provision within the night shelter sector. Meanwhile, investment in longer-term housing solutions includes a new £200 million Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme which will deliver up to 2,400 homes and wrap-around support.
One person without a roof over their head is one too many. While there is much more to do, I hope that this response has provided you with some assurance about the action already being taken and commitment across government to work towards a future without homelessness.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP