Councils doubt government will hit target of ending rough sleeping by 2027

A think tank survey finds that 61 per cent of local authorities reckon the lofty ambition is unlikely to be met

The government’s target to eradicate rough sleeping by 2027 will not be met according to over 40 per cent of councils, a new survey finds.

Research by the New Local Government Network [NLGN] think tank showed that councils are far off meeting their 2027 target – particularly in towns and cities.

Amongst predominantly urban councils, 61 per cent think they are unlikely to eradicate rough sleeping by 2027, with 38 per cent saying they are unable to halve it by 2022 citing the negative impact of Universal Credit and the lack of funding as reasons.

Adam Lent, director of the New Local Government Network, said: “The government needs to work closely and urgently with councils to understand what extra resources are needed to meet the targets and how planned welfare reforms can be revised to prevent them contributing to rough sleeping.”

The survey found that 65 percent of councils felt that Universal Credit had led to an increase in homelessness with less than three per cent reporting a decrease.

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These worrying figures have been released one year after the Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) came into force.

The HRA placed a new duty on local authorities to prevent homelessness of all families and single people, regardless of priority need, who are eligible for assistance and threatened with homelessness.

To fulfil these duties councils were provided with £72 million from central government, however these latest figures suggest that most councils feel they do not have enough funding.

The survey also asked local authorities to comment on the impact of the HRA, one council responded: “There are long term and systemic issues that have combined to cause the current increase in homelessness. These will be exacerbated if the broader public sector services are not funded properly.”

Other problems the council’s encountered were a lack of suitable temporary accommodation, the inability to build more affordable housing or buy it and recruiting suitably qualified staff.

However, official rough sleeping statistics did report the first fall since 2010 last year but this progress was offset by a significant rise in cities like London and Manchester.