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Sajid Javid unveils Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel to tackle homelessness

The Communities Secretary has joined forces with experts, charities and local government in a bid to eliminate rough sleeping by 2027

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has announced an advisory panel to help draw up a strategy to eliminate rough sleeping within a decade.

The government has pledged to halve the number of people on the streets by 2022 before reducing that figure to zero five years later.

To meet this end, the Communities Secretary, who is speaking exclusively to The Big Issue in next week’s magazine, has enlisted the help of a panel of homelessness experts, charities and local government to back his Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Implementation Taskforce.

To break the homelessness cycle once and for all, we all need to work together, drawing on as much expertise and experience as we can

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate and her equivalent at West Midlands homelessness charity St Basil’s, Jean Templeton, will add their input as part of the panel.

Chief executive of Crisis Jon Sparkes, who also sits on the Scottish Government’s £50m-backed Homelessness Action Group, forms part of the group alongside the Local Government Association’s Mark Lloyd.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has campaigned to end rough sleeping in his region and he will advise on the panel with his opposite number in the West Midlands Andy Street.

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Javid’s plans to tackle Britain’s housing crisis have centred on a Housing First approach inspired by his trips to Finland and that has earned Peter Fredriksson, a homelessness advisor to the Finnish government, a spot among the advisory group.

The Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel, chaired by Homelessness Minister Marcus Jones, will provide a cross-government approach to implement the government’s promised £1bn spend on tackling the issue up to 2020 as well as the £28m Housing First approach to tackling entrenched rough sleeping in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.

Javid said: “No one should ever have to sleep rough. That’s why this government is committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.

“To break the homelessness cycle once and for all, we all need to work together, drawing on as much expertise and experience as we can.

“The Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Implementation Taskforce and the Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel, together with the three Housing First pilots, are important steps in making that happen.”

Read an exclusive interview with Sajid Javid in next week’s edition of The Big Issue, out Monday December 4

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