The Government’s pledge to end homelessness will fail unless services are fully funded in the upcoming spending review, the Salvation Army has warned.
In a new report, the charity said investing in homelessness will prevent spiralling costs in the future, such as expensive temporary accommodation that costs local authorities close to £1bn a year.
The report - Future-Proof the Roof - makes a number of recommendations including an investment of £686m annually to tackle homelessness. It also calls for improved data collection, maintaining levels of investments even if rough sleeping figures are stable, and a steady supply of suitable homes.
Lorrita Johnson, the Salvation Army’s director of homelessness services, said: ‘Bold government moves like the furlough scheme, temporary protection from eviction and emergency accommodation for rough sleepers saved lives and ensured thousands still had a home.
’However, our report demonstrates that if the Government mirrors the austerity approach it took during the last economic crisis, there will be dire consequences for rough sleepers, private renters and the economy as a whole.’
Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said: 'In the short term, to prevent any immediate rise in homelessness, the Government should bring forward its pledge to end ‘no fault evictions’, which would help reduce the number of people evicted, and commit to maintaining local housing allowance rates at the lowest third of market rents.
'In the longer term, housing must be a central part of the recovery from coronavirus, with the Spending Review delivering a genuine renaissance in council house-building that reduces homelessness, gets rough sleepers off the streets for good, supports people’s wellbeing and is climate-friendly.'