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Major government funding boost to tackle homelessness

Tens of thousands of people are expected to be protected from homelessness thanks to a £316m funding boost announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

The government’s Homelessness Prevention Grant will support households in England who are homeless or at risk of losing their home, with councils able to use the funding to help find a new home, access support for unexpected evictions and secure temporary accommodation.

The funding includes nearly £6m to support people forced into homelessness by domestic abuse, following the Domestic Abuse Act which ensures councils give people in this situation priority for assistance.

Funding will be allocated to all councils responsible for housing in England based on local homelessness need in individual areas.

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Minister for Rough Sleeping, Eddie Hughes MP, said: ‘I have seen first-hand the devastation of those who come face to face with homelessness, and my heart goes out to anyone in this situation. The support we are announcing today is going directly to communities that need it most. It will help thousands of people across England, with councils able to prevent homelessness before it occurs and put a roof over the heads of those who have lost their homes.’

Cllr James Jamieson, Local Government Association Chairman, commented: ‘It is really important that we focus on avoiding the tragedy of people becoming homeless in the first place. This vital funding will help councils support households to remain in their homes for as long as possible, and find alternative safe, secure housing for those that need it. We are also pleased government is providing additional funding so councils can further support those made homeless as a result of suffering domestic abuse.’

Charities working with homeless people have welcomed the funding announcement.

Lord Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, said: ‘I am delighted to see the government investing in homelessness prevention and support for people at risk of losing their homes or being evicted.

‘The worrying number of people in rent arrears and at risk of eviction because of the pandemic has kept me up at night for months. Hearing that the government are taking action to stop mass homelessness from becoming a reality is a great relief.

‘This will save an avalanche of people from the damaging experience of homelessness – as well as saving the Treasury millions on all the associated costs. This is exactly the kind of step in the right direction that we need, shifting the focus to prevention and long-term thinking rather than waiting for the crisis happens.’

In related news, women’s homelessness occurs at a far greater scale than is recognised, finds researchers from the University of York.

Photo by Dimi Katsavaris

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