Labour pledges 8,000 new homes for rough sleepers

Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey has promised to tackle the scandal of ‘soaring rough sleeping’ by pledging to make 8,000 affordable homes available for people with a history of sleeping on the streets.

If successful in the next General Election, Healey says that a Labour government will strike a deal with housing associations to make the homes available immediately as they fall vacant, and fund the replacements via Labour’s national housing programme. The 8,000 figure is double the number previously promised.

With recent figures revealing that rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010, and that rough sleeping is up 73 per cent in the last three years alone, the new homes strategy would be similar to housing first’ – a relatively new type of programme established in the US and northern Europe, where rough sleepers with complex needs are moved into permanent accommodation quickly to give them a fresh start.

Healey said: “The rising number of people sleeping on the streets and on park benches shames us all. There can be no excuses – we can end it and we must. Homelessness shames us all but should shame Conservative ministers most. It is direct consequence of decisions made by the Tories on housing, and on funding for charities and councils.

“Under the last Labour government, years of sustained action cut rough sleeping by three-quarters, but it has more than doubled since 2010. You can’t help the homeless if you don’t provide the homes. A Labour government would put a stop to this national scandal and provide those who need it most with a place to call home. If Theresa May is serious about fixing our rough sleeping crisis, she should back Labour’s plans to make more homes available for the homeless.”