23 July 2020

The Next Steps Accommodation Programme opened for applications on 18/07/2020 and the government has said it will support 15,000 vulnerable people with new tenancies.

A total of £105m will go to extending current interim accommodation arrangements, aid moves into the private rented sector or help individuals reconnect with friends and family. This funding was first announced in June.

A further £161m, first promised in May, will provide 3,300 additional supported homes this year for those currently housed in emergency accommodation. This is part of a total of £433m to provide 6,000 long-term, safe homes for those in need.

Of this, £67m has been allocated to mayor of London Sadiq Khan to provide 900 homes in the capital.

In an unprecedented move, in March the government launched a programme dubbed ‘Everyone In’, with councils given £3.2m to find accommodation for rough sleepers during the pandemic.

This programme saw 90% of the known total of rough sleepers housed – mainly in hotels closed due to the lockdown – although hundreds are thought to have spent the period on the streets

But concerns have been mounting since May about what would replace this programme, with fears that homeless people would be thrown back onto the streets when hotels reopened without major government funding and a co-ordinated rehousing effort.

The process has been led by Dame Louise Casey, who has chaired a COVID-19 Rough Sleeping Taskforce.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The remarkable national effort to support rough sleepers and vulnerable people during this crisis has protected many lives and I am hugely grateful to all those involved.

“Today I am launching the funding to ensure that vulnerable people and rough sleepers continue to have a roof over their heads and are helped into longer-term accommodation, enabling them to start to rebuild their lives.”

Organisations wishing to bid for the £105m must demonstrate how the funding will be used to rapidly support those in COVID-19 emergency accommodation. The funding is for use during 2020/21 only and the deadline for bids is 20 August.

The cash allocated to Mr Khan will be used to deliver self-contained accommodation at affordable rents, ready by spring 2021.

The funding includes provision for four years’ revenue support for the residents, as well as being available for the development or acquisition of the home.

Mr Khan said: “The extraordinary effort to house London’s rough sleepers during the pandemic has saved hundreds of lives and allowed many homeless people to access health and welfare services for the first time.

“But this work will be wasted if we don’t have suitable accommodation for people to move into for the long term. That’s why I’m pleased to have secured this substantial investment, which will help provide a stable future for hundreds of formerly homeless Londoners.”

Source: Inside Housing