Grant Shapps exclusive: “Setting a new ‘Gold Standard’ on tackling homelessness”
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
Grant Shapps exclusive: "Setting a new 'Gold Standard' on tackling homelessness"
Housing Minister Grant Shapps outlines a new approach to homelessness that puts prevention before cure.
Over the last two years as Housing Minister I have made tackling homelessness one of my top priorities, and councils have responded to my call for them to do all they can to help these most vulnerable of people in their areas.
It’s meant that record numbers of people are now being spared the trauma of homelessness as councils and charities are intervening before it’s too late. Last year 180,000 households were helped to stay in their home or find a new place to live. The ‘step-in-early’ approach is working.
I’m now urging local agencies and voluntary services to use every penny of the Government funding they are getting to ensure that early help with repossessions, debt advice and re-housing is readily available, and to ensure that the worst case scenario is avoided for those under the threat of homelessness.
But I also want to see local authorities learn from the best of the best. When I met 24housing’s Young Leader of the Year, Sara Parkin, I was impressed to hear how Futures Homescape helps people in Derbyshire at risk of homelessness to find a secure place to live. It was only launched in April and is already making a real difference to those facing the real prospect of losing their home.
My new “Make Every Contact Count” report, the second by the Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness, lays out the level of service that councils, charities, health services and the police should look to achieve to help as many families as possible.
This sets out the Government’s clear commitment to helping them achieve early support for those especially vulnerable groups like the elderly or those with mental health issues; joined-up thinking between service providers; better financial advice and help to get back into work; new innovative funding mechanisms including payment-by-results to get value for the taxpayer; and a new ‘Gold Standard’ on tackling homelessness that all councils should look to achieve.
These protections will help ensure this country continues to have some of the best safeguards against homelessness in the world. This will mean that everyone in need will get the support required and that the good work being done by our local services will continue to ensure that homelessness remains at the current historic low levels.
And to ensure no-one falls through the cracks and anyone needing support gets it, I’m investing a further £3.5million in the successful ‘No Second Night Out’ campaign as part of the additional £70m investment in homelessness prevention over the last year.
This money will go to those homelessness charities, working alongside government, to help tackle this stain on our civilised society. ‘No Second Night Out’ will now be rolled out in other areas of the country to ensure no one spends more than a night on the streets.
There is always work to be done on tackling homelessness – but this way we can ensure that prevention really is the best cure for anyone facing the real and frightening prospect of a life on the streets.
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