Shapps announces further hostel beds for homeless
Housing minister Grant Shapps has announced a further £5m on top of the £37.5m announced earlier today, to provide an extra 1,400 hostel beds and support finding work for the homeless.
The extra funding has been allocated through the Homelessness Change Programme to help individual projects on the ground provide facilities for the homeless.
Speaking at the No Second Night Out conference organised by Homeless Link, Shapps said he had managed to "eke out" an extra £5m in funding to provide extra beds.
Not a fan of housing targets, Grant told the audience that he does not see No Second Night Out as a target, but a "moral obligation".
No Second Night Out aims to prevent someone new to rough sleeping from spiralling downwards into a long-term life on the streets where they are very vulnerable to crime, drugs and alcohol, and at high risk of serious illness, and potential early death.
Directed through a central 'hub', rather than through outreach work on the streets, the location helps people to break away from the lifestyle entrenchment that can often occur when people are living on the street. The project has been running in London for the last six months.
Funding for the No Second Night Out project was provided for the Department for Communities and Local Government, and Richard Blakeway, mayoral advisor on housing for the Greater London Assembly, spoke of how it is already showing "striking" results after only six months.
"We have carried out an initial review and it shows you are five times more likely to come off the streets if you go through the No Second Night Out hub, compared to outreach work on the streets," Blakeway said.
The hub has helped 400 individuals in the last six months, and Blakeway said they would like to see hubs "rolled out" across the capital. A former client of the hub, Michael, said he "could not praise it enough".
Jenny Edwards, chief executive of Homeless Link, said the overall ambition of No Second Night Out is to "go upstream and stop the flow of people onto the streets, so nobody has to make that journey ever again".
However, Edwards stipulated that the No Second Night Out approach used in London may not necessarily be right for the rest of the country.
"Each local area has to find out what is right for them," she said.