New analysis shows that a government Rough Sleeping Initiative is having a significant impact on reducing the numbers of vulnerable people sleeping rough.

The Rough Sleeping Initiative was set up to support rough sleepers and get them off the streets into secure accommodation where they can get the help they need to rebuild their lives. Since it’s launch over £76 million has been provided to 246 councils across the UK.

A report published today (12/09) shows that the initiative has reduced the number of vulnerable people sleeping rough by 32%, compared to the number it would have been had the initiative not been in place.

The analysis estimates the impact of the initiative from its launch in March 2018 until autumn that year and takes account of a range of factors, including whether councils submitted estimates or counts in the official annual rough sleeping statistics, the weather on the night the data was collected, and local housing and labour market conditions, to zero in on the effects of the initiative.

Welcoming the evaluation findings, Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“Since becoming Communities Secretary in July, I have been able to see first-hand the outstanding work taking place under the Rough Sleeping Initiative every single day to transform the lives of society’s most vulnerable – and these figures are proof that our strategy to end rough sleeping is working.”

“But we must keep that momentum up, which is why we have committed a record investment to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in the months ahead – ensuring progress continues to be made and people are given the help they need to turn their lives around.”

The figures released today come just days after the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £422 million of funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping – up £54 million from £368 million in 2019 to 2020.

The Communities Secretary and the Chancellor have also announced a further £10 million to boost life-saving support for rough sleepers during the cold winter weather and has called on councils to come forward and bid for the funding now in order to step-up preparations in time for the winter months.

In August last year, the government unveiled its Rough Sleeping Strategy – backed by £100 million – which sets out the next steps towards ending rough sleeping.

This forms part of a wider strategy to tackle all forms of homelessness, including:

  • Investing £1.2 billion to tackle homelessness
  • Providing £76 million for the Rough Sleeping Initiative to 246 local authorities – including the 83 areas with the highest number of rough sleepers
  • This year councils are using this investment to create an estimated 2,600 more beds and 750 additional specialist support staff
  • Introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act to ensure people at risk of becoming homeless get help more quickly, with councils receiving over £72 million to support them in these duties
  • £1 million of the Cold Weather Fund, administered by Homeless Link has been made available to providers and services that are not commissioned by local authorities.