Housing

Homelessness could end in Britain within 10 years, says charity Crisis

The catch? It’s going to cost £10bn – but save £26.4bn

Homeless man

Britain could be free of homelessness within 10 years, according to a Crisis report – if the right measures are put in place now.

The national homelessness charity marked its 50thanniversary by launching its ‘Everybody In’ campaign on Monday, setting out the exact government policies needed to get people across the country into a stable home in the next decade.

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

Experts, from Chartered Institute of Housing, Heriot-Watt University and National Housing Federation among others, have found that 100,500 social homes need to be built each year for the next 15 years to meet demand.

They also recommend that a national rollout of Housing First – providing permanent homes alongside specialised support – to benefit more than 18,000 rough sleepers.

Policies are also needed to support people when they are housed with better rights and longer tenancies for private renters and reformed housing benefits to meet rising rents.

Hospitals, prisons, the care system and other parts of the state have a role to play with a legal obligation to stop those leaving their care from being forced to live on the streets. The research also recommends that job centres should have dedicated homelessness experts.

The cost of implementing these measures? It would cost £9.9bn – but the benefits, both financial and otherwise, would hit £26.4bn, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The study came off the back of an eight-month consultation of frontline workers and people who have experienced homelessness, and has been backed by former homelessness tzar Dame Louise Casey as well as the Archbishop of Canterbury. Crisis is now calling on Brits to lobby political leaders to commit to ending homelessness.

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.

“Other parts of the world are taking huge strides towards ending it, and Britain can too. 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.”

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government responded to the plan and 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.”

The plan also gained the backing of the National Housing Federation who also insisted that urgent action is needed to halt the skyrocketing numbers of people living in temporary accommodation.

“This is an impressive, timely and ambitious plan. The number of people on the streets and stuck in temporary accommodation has sky rocketed in recent years. Urgent action is now needed to ensure everyone has somewhere safe and stable to live.

“Crisis are right to highlight the desperate need for more social housing. A key reason why increasing numbers are stuck in temporary accommodation is because local authorities have no homes to offer people,” said Catherine Ryder, head of policy at the National Housing Federation.

“It’s common sense that more houses means less people without a home. The government must invest in building more homes for social rent and making land cheaper for those building social housing.”

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