Our engagement with the new rough sleeping taskforce

14 May 2020

We’ve written to Dame Louise Casey to outline how we can end homelessness for all.

Due to the leadership shown by local and national government, and the hard work of housing associations and partners, many rough sleepers have been provided with accommodation during the coronavirus crisis. This shows what is possible with determination and funding.

The government has now established a new rough sleeping taskforce, led by Dame Louise Casey, to establish next steps and advise local authorities on supporting rough sleepers into long-term accommodation once lockdown begins lifting.

As part of our ongoing work to tackle homelessness, and alongside several housing associations partners including Homes for Cathy, CIH, Homeless Link and the National Federation of ALMOs, we have written a letter to Dame Louise Casey with an offer to work closely with her on this taskforce.

We outline how we can build on what has already been achieved, and make sure there are sustainable solutions for people currently accommodated and for those at risk of homelessness.

Specifically, we recommend the following as part of the plan to end homelessness for all:

  1. The government should seize this opportunity and commit to no one being returned to the street.
  2. National leadership is needed to encourage local cooperation. Local areas need the power and resource to support those currently accommodated and those at risk of homelessness, and to build on the successful partnership working at local level.
  3. We must understand everyone’s needs and what is a suitable move-on option for each of them, and we must act fast to ensure everyone is included.
  4. Interventions must be housing-led. Efforts must be made to understand what housing is available and what can be procured to facilitate rehousing of those who have been homeless.
  5. There should be specific, secure funding for support, transition, welfare and the conversion or acquisition of homes. The housing and homelessness sector will need increased funding to be able to continue providing services and make homes available.
  6. There needs to be continued, funded provision for those who usually face legal barriers, including those currently debarred from benefits because of their immigration status.
  7. The welfare system must work for everyone and cover the cost of rent and support.

We also outline how work must also focus on people at risk of homelessness because of the coronavirus crisis – such as people fleeing domestic abuse, those in rent arrears, young people, prison leavers and people leaving hospital.

We will continue to engage with the new taskforce as part of our ongoing ambition to end homelessness, and our work to ensure the people and communities housing associations serve emerge from the coronavirus crisis socially and economically stronger than before. Read more about this work.

Who to speak to

Suzannah Young, Policy Leader