Hundreds of homes to be built in London for rough sleepers

The project forms a major part of a £2billion government programme which aims to end rough sleeping across the country, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Rough sleeping (credit Jon Tyson via Unsplash)
Rough sleeping (credit Jon Tyson via Unsplash)

Almost 350 homes for rough sleepers in London are set to be built using government cash – with more to come, ministers have said.

It comes following a record-high number of people recorded rough sleeping in the capital, as more than 4,000 people were counted on the streets by outreach teams between July and September.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced on Tuesday (28th) that it has so far allocated £52m to Greater London from a £200m national programme aimed at tackling the problem.

Under the Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme, funding has so far been allocated for some 1,230 homes across England for people with a history of rough sleeping and those at risk of homelessness; 347 are expected to be built in London, the DLUHC has confirmed.

Only £148.4m has been announced so far from the £200m pot however, comprising rounds one to four of the programme. The fifth and final bidding round is currently under way, and final allocations will be announced early next year – meaning that a higher total number of homes, including in London, will eventually be built.

The programme is specifically intended to provide housing for homeless adults with no dependent children.

The cash was welcomed by City Hall, with deputy mayor for housing Tom Copley saying he was “extremely pleased” with the fact that as well as home-building, the funding will “deliver vital support services” to London’s rough sleepers.

Copley added: “This will make a real and lasting difference for hundreds of people in our capital, ranging from those recovering from addiction, to young people at risk of homelessness.

“No-one should have to sleep rough on our streets and the mayor is doing everything in his power to ensure that everyone in this position gets the support they need.”

Of the 347 homes across London, at least 59 are expected to be built in Lambeth, followed by Newham with at least 58 and a minimum of 42 in Hillingdon.

DLUHC said that the funding will pay for a wide range of accommodation and support services for vulnerable adults, including purpose-built accommodation and supported housing, as well as helping with building repairs and renovations.

These new services also include 24/7 support for the most vulnerable, with access to specialist teams where people can address substance misuse, domestic violence and abuse or improve their wellbeing and mental health, the Department said.

The project forms a major part of the government’s cross-department £2billion programme, which aims to end rough sleeping across the country.

Homelessness minister and Kensington MP Felicity Buchan said: “Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. This is why we are so committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society and helping them off the streets for good.

“This funding will not only provide housing for rough sleepers but will also give tailored support to help those most in need off the streets, rebuild their lives, and begin to live independently.”

Between July and September, London’s Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) recorded a total of 4,068 rough sleepers in the capital – a 12% increase on the same period last year.

It is the highest quarterly rough sleeping count recorded in London outside of a pandemic since records began.

Of the more than 4,000 people recorded, 2,086 were sleeping rough for the first time.

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