Communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced a network of 11 homelessness ‘hubs’ across England to tackle rough sleeping.
The Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs, which will provide specialist support for rough sleepers, will be backed by £4.8m in government funding and forms part of the Government’s rough sleeping strategy.
The announcement comes as the latest figures show more than 24,000 people in Britain are homeless. Research by the charity Crisis says 12,300 people are sleeping rough on the streets while a further 12,000 spend the night in tents, cars, sheds, bins or night buses.
Mr Brokenshire said: ‘No one should ever have to face a night on the streets, and as a government we are taking steps to ensure people are never faced with this as their only option.
‘These are vulnerable people, who may be dealing with complex mental health problems or addictions and require specialist help to tackle these issues and turn their lives around.
‘That’s why these vital new hubs will ensure those on the streets have access to professional help and guidance to start their recovery.’
The hubs will provide rapid assessment for rough sleepers and specialist support for complex needs including mental health problems and substance misuse.
Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, also announced today a £100m national offer of emergency shelter for every rough sleeper during cold weather. This would be paid for by a second homes levy.
'Labour will give every rough sleeper a roof over their head, and tackle the root causes of rising homelessness with an end to the freeze on benefits, new rights for renters and a million low cost homes,' he said.
The Government's homelessness hubs will be launched in the following areas:
· Brighton & Hove
· Cheshire West & Chester
· Gloucestershire (encompassing the 7 councils in the county)
· Nottingham City
· West London (encompassing 7 borough councils)