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Brokenshire vows to make rough sleeping 'a thing of the past'

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The government has today announced a series of measures in a bid to end rough sleeping by 2027.

The strategy, which housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire told the BBC is backed by £100m largely “reprioritised” from other budgets, will focus on prevention and include a £17m fund to provide “rapid” support for rough sleepers.

Up to 6,000 vulnerable people will undergo specialist assessments and receive support under the strategy, the government says, with new funding to provide “intensive” support for people with complex needs leaving care.

The government has pledged £50m to increase the supply of accommodation outside London for people who have slept rough or are ready to leave temporary accommodation, while £19m will fund “flexible” support for these people once they move in.

Funding from “dormant assets” will deliver up to £135m to support “innovative financing” for new homes.

An unspecified amount of funding will be provided to help areas develop enterprises supporting vulnerable people and make efficient use of local housing supply.

The government said it will also work with NHS England and Pubic Health England to address gaps in health services for rough sleepers, with £2m available this year. NHS England has also been asked to spend up to £30m over the next five years.

Mr Brokenshire said he is determined to make “unacceptable” rough sleeping “a thing of the past”.

He added: “Whether people are at risk of rough sleeping, already on the streets or in need of settled accommodation, we now have a solid plan to help the most vulnerable in our society.

“And this is not just about putting a roof over their heads but helping them find a place to call home.

“They need and deserve our support and, through our expert-backed strategy, I am confident they will get it.”

The strategy has been developed in conjunction with the rough sleeping advisory panel, which includes a number of local government representatives.

Local Government Association chair Lord Porter (Con) welcomed the strategy as “a positive first step” but said “we must go much further, much faster”.

He added: “Rough sleeping is only the tip of the iceberg - right now, councils are currently housing over 79,000 homeless families and 123,000 children in temporary housing.

“Councils want to end all homelessness by preventing it from happening in the first place. This means allowing councils to build more social homes, reviewing welfare reforms and ensuring councils have the certainty, resources and tools they need to bring together services around people at risk of becoming homeless.”

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