Success of ‘Everyone In’ initiative reveals number of homeless amid coronavirus (COVID-19)

Success of ‘Everyone In’ initiative reveals number of homeless amid coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Public Accounts Committee has announced in a report that the ‘notable pandemic response success’ of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) ‘Everyone In’ initiative during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has exposed gaps in how the MHCLG approaches the problem of rough sleeping. The initiative, which took place during spring 2020, saw people sleeping rough moved rapidly into houses in an attempt to prevent coronavirus spreading among them. However, the number of people housed (37,430) is nearly nine times the MHCLG's last official estimate of people sleeping rough on streets in England. The Committee notes that the MHCLG ‘still does not have a plan for achieving or maintaining the government’s 2019 election commitment to end rough sleeping by May 2024’. As a result, it sets out recommendations for the MHCLG.

The recommendations for the MHCLG are as follows:

• the MHCLG should, in seeking to learn lessons from what made ‘Everyone In’ a success in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, assess what additional staff capacity it needs to be able to sustain its response and its support for local partners, as the pandemic continues

• the MHCLG must, before summer recess, publish at least a draft strategy for how it will achieve its goal of ending rough sleeping by 2024. This should set out its definition of ‘ending’ rough sleeping, how it will measure and report progress in achieving and maintaining this goal, and the capacity of supported and affordable housing required to reduce the flow of people onto the streets towards zero for the long term

• to support proper accountability, the MHCLG must ensure it continues to publish its monthly data on numbers of people sleeping rough. Drawing on this information, it should report back to the Committee on a quarterly basis on its performance against its target for ending rough sleeping

• to inform the review of its strategy, the MHCLG should reassess the level of funding required to meet its target of ending rough sleeping and align all individual streams of funding for tackling rough sleeping to this end. This should address the importance of multi-year funding certainty for local authorities and the voluntary sector. In doing so, it should state how it will assess the long-term value for money of its spending on rough sleeping and homelessness, focusing on interventions which do most to reduce the long-term public costs associated with both rough sleeping and housing people in temporary accommodation

• within two months the MHCLG should publish details of its agreed plans with the Home Office to address rough sleeping and immigration issues together, and provide clear guidance to local authorities on what this means for the support they offer this cohort, including those staying in hotels under ‘Everyone In’

• the MHCLG should write to us within two months on the progress it is making in securing 3,300 homes under its Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme, and include details on how it will ensure the availability of the supported and affordable housing required for people to move into, once their stay in these homes comes to an end

A summary of the report can be found here.

The report’s recommendations can be found here.

Source: COVID-19: housing people sleeping rough

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