Thames Reach on new rough sleeping investments: don’t forget prevention
Following the government’s announcement of additional funding for rough sleeping services, Thames Reach welcome the commitment but stress that investment in prevention is essential to our work towards ending street homelessness
At Thames Reach, we welcome the new RSI (Rough Sleeping Initiative) funding provisions for rough sleeping services, with the government’s announcement last weekend that councils will receive a further £200million in this stage of their plan to support people experiencing rough sleeping. This is positive news that will help continue our efforts to reduce rough sleeping in London. However while we welcome this investment we believe that there is an urgent need to review the national Rough Sleeping Strategy, learning from the lessons of the pandemic, both positive and negative. Alongside this we would like to see a return to multi-year funding that can provide the sort of stability that will help us feel confident that we can offer lasting solutions to street homelessness, and help people along the journey of moving on from the streets, which only starts once an individual has been housed.
As part of this we would like to see an increased focus on the prevention stage of street homelessness, working with people to divert them away from the street and into more secure accommodation. The last year has shown how precariously many people are housed, and highlighted the need to intervene earlier. We know that street homelessness is a huge cause of trauma and anxiety, and causes lasting damage, and it is crucial that we are able to work effectively to prevent this.
Any revised strategy will need to address the needs of people without recourse to public funds, particularly those with complex support needs. Without this help for people who are currently largely ineligible, street homelessness will continue and numbers will increase.