Many thanks to those who have contacted me about tackling homelessness and rough sleeping.
I am pleased to tell you 15,000 rough sleepers and those at risk of doing so have been offered safe accommodation since the start of the pandemic.
There needs to be a long-term solution to help those that have been brought in, which is why over half a billion in support has been provided on homelessness and rough sleeping. It is encouraging to see that the Next Steps Accommodation Programme has been launched, which will cover property costs and support new tenancies for around 15,000 vulnerable people. Local councils and their partners can apply for support from the £266 million fund, helping make sure people continue to have a safe place to stay and can begin to rebuild their lives with wrap-around services and care.
Furthermore, £105 million has been given toward interim accommodation and £433 million has been allocated to provide 6,000 safe and long-term homes for those in need. £161 million of this funding is available this year to provide 3,300 units of supported housing for those in emergency accommodation. Also, Public Health England has provided £23 million for this year to ensure that drug and alcohol treatment services support for people is maintained as they move into longer-term move-on accommodation and to support those who have not previously engaged with treatment services. The Government has extended powers to the most affected local authorities to support certain EEA nationals sleeping rough to the end of the year. I have been assured by ministerial colleagues that they are coordinating across departments on how these challenges can be addressed long-term as we begin recovering from the pandemic.
Like you, I believe we need to see an end to homelessness and rough sleeping. The Government has committed to building 300,000 new homes of all tenures each year by the mid-2020s, and great progress has been made with over 240,000 homes delivered in 2018-19 – the highest number in 32 years. The current £9 billion Affordable Homes Programme will be replaced by a £12 billion one to ensure that homes for low-income families are built where they are urgently needed, while planning reform will make sure local councils secure more on-site housing where this is most needed.