Ending homelessness promises £16bn windfall, says Crisis

11 Jun 18

Ending homelessness could reap the government a £16bn windfall within a decade, according to a leading charity.

The £9.9bn cost of policies to house the homeless would be offset by benefits worth £26.4bn, according to research conducted by consultants PwC for the charity Crisis.

The charity argues in a report Everybody in: How to end homelessness in Great Britain, out today, that in the next 15 years 100,500 social homes must be built.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “For the first time ever, we have a comprehensive plan that shows exactly how we can address the root causes of homelessness and make it a thing of the past.

“We must not become a society that simply accepts homelessness as ‘a sad fact of life’, because the good news is that we know it doesn’t have to be this way.

“With the right measures in place, we can do what it takes to end homelessness and make sure that no one in Britain has to face it again.”

Crisis is calling for greater funding for local authorities to establish mandatory steps aimed at reducing homelessness, from family mediation to support for people to keep tenancies.

Its report calls on institutions like prisons and hospitals to be required by law to prevent people leaving their care from becoming homeless.

Crisis said nearly 160,000 British households are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness – living on the streets, in cars, tents or shelters – with that number set to double in the next 25 years.

Catherine Ryder, head of policy at the National Housing Federation, praised the plan and said:  “A key reason why increasing numbers are stuck in temporary accommodation is because local authorities have no homes to offer people.

“It’s common sense that more houses means fewer people without a home.

“The government must invest in building more homes for social rent and making land cheaper for those building social housing.”

Research by another homeless charity, Shelter, released last week, revealed there were 1.15 million households on waiting lists for social housing but only 290,000 social homes made available last year.  

“The gap is caused by a lack of new social homes being built, and the fact many existing homes are sold off through right-to-buy without the receipts being used to replace these homes, like-for-like,” the charity said.  

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said it is committed to tackling homelessness by working with charities like Crisis.

A ministry spokesperson said: “We are investing more than £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness and just last week we announced £30m for councils to help boost the immediate support available to people living on the streets.

“We are also investing £9bn to build more affordable homes and are piloting the Housing First approach in three major regions to get people off the streets and into stable accommodation.”

The £30m - to be divided between 83 areas - was announced on Saturday and is intended to provide an additional 1,750 additional bed spaces for rough sleepers. 

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