Riverside response to official rough sleeping figures

John Glenton, Executive Director of Care and Support at Riverside, said: “Ending rough sleeping in this Parliament should be a top priority of this Government. It is an achievable goal this Government can deliver for the people of this country with relatively modest funding levels.

“The 9% drop in rough sleeping is very welcome and proof that targeted funding can work to help people rough sleeping get off the streets.

“The £230m investment in Housing First-style ‘move on’ accommodation announced yesterday is also warmly welcome and clearly needed.

“However, the devil is always in the detail with these announcements and we want to know more about what this means.

“And over and above that much more needs to be done.

“We’re still only back to 2016 levels of rough sleeping, and it will take long-term, strategic, sustained investment in innovative schemes and different ways of doing things to get the truly significant decreases.

“These include projects like our Housing First scheme in Medway funded by the Rough Sleeper Initiative, the Street Engagement Hub in Manchester or the Street Buddies outreach approach in Westminster which is working with long-term entrenched rough sleepers.

“Housing First is an excellent initiative, but it is not the right solution for everyone and the new money should be combined with additional funding for other forms of relevant, well-managed service models, including supported, communal accommodation.

“This investment also needs to be combined with services that help people stay in their accommodation and address other needs such as poor mental health, as well as preventing new people coming onto the streets which is a major factor in numbers remaining high. We see the benefit of this in places like Leeds and Enfield via our ‘Engage’ model of floating support.

“To that end, we are heartened to hear that Dame Louise Casey will be undertaking a review into rough sleeping to address this humanitarian crisis on Britain’s streets , and we hope our own research, evidence and experience from across the country can help contribute to this review.”