Our response to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into rough sleeping during and beyond the pandemic

19 January 2021

The Public Accounts Committee ran an inquiry into the government’s rehousing of rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic, and the government’s plans for solving rough sleeping in the long term.

We welcomed the opportunity to respond to the inquiry and submitted a written response from the point of view of housing associations.

The pandemic has highlighted the need for secure, affordable homes, especially for those most affected by the crisis: low-paid key workers, rough sleepers, families in temporary accommodation and people in unsuitable, unsupported or overcrowded homes. It has also highlighted the need for support services, a robust welfare system that covers the cost of rent, and safeguards for employment.

In our submission, we commend the continuation of the government’s commitment to rough sleepers and the funding for move-on housing, but provide a word of warning on the financial impact of the pandemic on supported housing.

We are calling on the government to:

  • Open the next round of Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme funding quickly.
  • Provide long-term investment to build the social housing the country needs.
  • Help supported housing weather the financial storm caused by the pandemic.
  • Provide properly funded support services for wider homelessness prevention.

We also ask the government to focus on critical issues including:

  • Ensuring vital support services can continue, with access to testing, vaccination, PPE and staff.
  • Focusing on homelessness prevention.
  • Addressing homeless people’s long-term housing and support needs.
  • Ensuring the welfare system smoothly supports everyone affected by the pandemic to keep paying their rent and manage living costs.
  • Supporting communities and the economy to recover, supporting people into work and investing in homes.