Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) welcomes the Government’s announcement of a strategy for rough sleepers. The Government aims to ‘end rough sleeping entirely by 2027’.
CSAN’s Chief Executive, Dr Phil McCarthy, said, ‘It’s great that the Government has listened to professional charities on how to improve support to people reduced to living on the streets. But many other people cannot access or remain in accommodation because of high rent levels and house prices. We encourage landlords and vendors to take greater responsibility: by accepting more tenants on benefits and, where practical, making property prices more affordable.’
The number of people becoming homeless has been rising since 2008. In 2016, more than a quarter of a million people were homeless in England alone. While average life expectancy for rough sleepers has improved over time to age 47 for men and 43 for women as at 2017, it is still around half of the average for the whole population.
Some housing professionals have pointed to practice in places like Finland, such as the Housing First approach, to reduce homelessness in England. This approach relies on having properties and adequate support available. The availability of social housing – while still housing nearly 20% of the population – has been declining. The Government has delayed plans for a Green Paper on Social Housing, which was expected before the 2018 Summer Recess in Parliament.
Picture – Tabor House, Birmingham. Credit to Father Hudson’s Care.