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Letter to Minister for Rough Sleeping and Homelessness

Published on:

18 May 2020

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The text of a letter to the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Homelessness

Dear Minister,

ESSENTIAL FUNDING FOR ROUGH SLEEPERS STEP DOWN AND MOVE ON HOUSING

Thank you for your letter acknowledging the strategies and efforts of Enfield Council to increase housing supply and eradicate homelessness.

As you appreciate in your response, tackling the housing challenge is a priority for Enfield Council as we work to respond to the acute housing needs of our residents.

Over the past two years Enfield Council has collated much evidence to assistant in producing our Housing Needs Assessment and developing our new Housing & Growth Strategy. As a result of its importance we were keen to submit evidence to the recent MHCLG Select Committee.

We are writing to you again at this time because we are alarmed at the prospect that the Government will not provide ongoing financial support and co-ordinated action to ensure that we can secure settled housing and support for residents currently in emergency housing.

The funding Enfield Council has received so far, by way of the general allocation, is simply inadequate to meet the costs of this next phase of work.

However, the housing challenge is not just about funding during the current Covid19 crisis. For those who are homeless and sleeping rough, it is statistically likely that they particularly vulnerable because of mental health issues and other complex needs.

Therefore, it is crucial that there is a commitment from Government to provide adequate funding and support so that Councils can deliver settled accommodation that will provide long-term housing for people to help them move forward positively with their lives.

Local authorities need urgent confirmation from Government that the funding for the next phase of our work will be met. Meanwhile Enfield Council officers have already begun developing a comprehensive response as part of our Local Delivery Plan to ensure that no-one has to return to the streets.

This will take forward the principles of the pan London Rough Sleepers Strategy where we commit to the following:

1. No-one who has been placed in emergency accommodation in response to the Covid-19 public health crisis is asked to leave that emergency accommodation without an offer of support to end their rough sleeping (the ‘In For Good’ approach taken in London for rough sleepers in severe weather emergency provision).

2. There is capacity and capability to deliver and implement ‘In For Good’ offers of support.

3. Continued protection from Covid-19 is provided for those who need it, using a coordinated approach of care, protect and prevent.

4. Responsibility is shared fairly across London boroughs, and that none are disproportionately impacted as a result of hosting rough sleepers from outside their boroughs during the emergency.

5. The London-wide approach supports and complements the efforts of individual boroughs and providers, and vice versa.

6. There is an integrated housing approach with health and care to secure access to services and continuity of care.

7. The roll out is gradual, to avoid a ‘cliff edge’ and overload of services as lockdown is lifted.

We have asked that Enfield Council’s Local Delivery Plan for the ongoing work required to house and support Rough Sleepers is submitted to our Cabinet for approval in July 2020.

Our ask of you and your team is to ensure that the Government gives us assurance on funding and support for this agenda as we work to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Cllr Nesil Caliskan, Leader of Enfield Council

Cllr Gina Needs, Cabinet Member for Social Housing