In a letter sent to housing minister Kit Malthouse, the London Assembly Housing Committee said the government should not wait until pilots in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool have concluded before expanding Housing First funding.

Another letter sent to the London mayor recommended a dedicated longer-term funding stream for Housing First projects.

Housing First is a strategy aimed at helping rough sleepers that involves immediately moving people into their own accommodation and building services around them, rather than progressing them through emergency shelters and temporary accommodation.

The approach has virtually eliminated rough sleeping in Finland, where it has been adopted wholesale.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced £28m for Housing First pilots in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool in the 2017 Autumn Budget.

The committee’s letter follows its investigation in April into how the Housing First model is working in London.

It questioned why London was not considered for funding and said ministers “should no longer be funding Housing First pilots, but rather should commit to long-term funding for Housing First services”. 

Mr Khan unveiled ambitions to establish a London Housing First service in his Rough Sleeping Plan of Action, published last June.

However, the committee said that the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) two-year Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund “arguably stands at odds with the fact that a Housing First tenancy is supposed to be for life” and may deter providers from applying.

The GLA currently only provides Housing First funding to homelessness charity Spear, which has been allocated £37,000 over two years.

The committee also urged Mr Khan to establish a lettings agency to source accommodation for chronically homeless people and the government to help fund it.

A similar project for sourcing temporary accommodation from private landlords, Capital Letters, launched in March.

GLA statistics show that there were 3,028 rough sleepers in London in 2017/18, up from 2,474 in 2014/15.

Source: Inside Housing