A comprehensive housing and homelessness strategy is desperately needed to address the underlying causes of homelessness and give councils the powers and resources they need to carry out their duties.
That’s the findings of a report out today by the Local Government Homelessness Commission who concluded that the recent dramatic rise in homelessness across the UK is a result of national policy failure.
Rough sleeping is just the tip of the iceberg they say in their report.
Tackling homelessness and addressing its causes is a long-term project that needs to draw on partners and organisations from across the public sector and cannot be solved by reactive homelessness services alone.
While the LGHC welcomed the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act (2017), the report found that without significant strategic funding, the systems in place under the HRA may result in an improved assessment process, but will not achieve its ultimate objectives.
Sustainable and affordable housing, mental health support, addiction services, and other infrastructure are urgently needed to address the causes of homelessness. The report shows that current funding is spent unproductively and inefficiently.
A dysfunctional housing market, inadequate and badly administered welfare regime largely exemplified by Universal Credit and the Local Housing Allowance, and rising levels of poverty all exacerbate homelessness.
The LGHC report is the first assessment of the state of homelessness prevention from the perspective of local government, those who are tasked with implementing the policy. The Commission was led by local government. Cllr Peter Fleming, Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, and Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, were co-chairs joined by a panel of local government experts