£150m extra spending expected for homelessness

Rishi Sunak is expected to use the upcoming Spending Review to set out the government’s ambition to tackle homelessness after the coronavirus pandemic with a multimillion-pound funding boost.

The Treasury said an additional £151 million would be made available for the next financial year, beginning in April 2021, to help rough sleepers and prevent homelessness. The government says that this will be in addition to the £103 million that had already been promised for 2021-22 in Sunak’s first Budget in March when the pandemic first struck, and would represent a 60 per cent increase on plans laid out by his predecessor, Sajid Javid.

There has been increasing concern over the dangers for rough sleepers during the second wave of coronavirus as winter approaches, as well as the economic effects of the pandemic leading to rising levels of unemployment and financial hardship. A number of charities have warned that the legacy of the crisis could be a sharp rise in the number of homeless people without urgent additional funding for housing and helping those at risk of losing a roof over their heads.

The Treasury said next year’s funding boost would take total resource spending on homelessness to £676 million, up from £422 million originally earmarked at the 2019 Spending Review. The government is also expected to confirm £87 million of additional infrastructure investment for the rough sleeping accommodation programme, which aims to provide people with secure, long-term accommodation.