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LGA warns over homelessness funding gap

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Councils will struggle to deal with rough sleeping as they face a funding gap next year of £100m for homelessness services.

That warning has come from Martin Tett (Con), Local Government Association housing spokesman, as the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government issued its annual snapshot of rough sleeping.

This showed there were 4,677 people sleeping rough in England on the night the count was taken last autumn.

That was 74 fewer - equivalent to 2% - than in 2017, but 165% more than in 2010.

Cllr Tett said: “Councils are determined to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping from happening in the first place and support families affected.

“This is becoming increasingly difficult with homelessness services facing a funding gap of more than £100m in 2019-20.”

He said councils need powers to keep all receipts from home sales to reinvest in building and to adapt welfare reforms to prevent people from losing their home.

Chartered Institute of Housing deputy chief executive Gavin Smart said: “We believe that a chronic shortage of affordable homes combined with the welfare reforms introduced since 2012 has created a toxic mix.

“To truly get to the root of the problem, the government must invest in more genuinely affordable housing as well as reviewing the impact of welfare reforms like the benefit cap, universal credit and the housing benefit freeze for private renters.”

Figures from the 2018 rough sleeping count, against 2017

* 4,677 people sleeping rough in England, 74 fewer but 165% more than in 2010.

* Increase of 146 (13%) in London

* Decrease of 220 (6%) in rest of England

* London accounted for 27% of rough sleeping, up from 24%.

* 14% rough sleepers were women, unchanged.

* 6% were aged 25 or under, down from 8%.


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