The head of the National Housing Federation visited a Salvation Army centre for homeless people to discuss the structural change that is needed to end rough sleeping, a key manifesto pledge from the new Government.
Kate Henderson, Chief Executive of the Federation, the national trade body for housing associations, toured Founder’s House lifehouse (hostel) in east London on Thursday 9 January. She met with staff and service users and discussed how the Government could assist supported housing, like that provided by The Salvation Army, to help end rough sleeping.
Ms Henderson said: “I was impressed by the partnership working of Founder’s House in the community – they not only provide a home for people who are homeless but also vital support to help them turn their lives around. The team’s kindness and compassion were very inspiring.
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to eliminate homelessness and rough sleeping. Housing associations play a key role in this and want to do more. There are also key structural changes that are needed to make this a reality, including government investment in new social homes, a fair and effective welfare system, and secure, long term funding for support and supported housing."
Founder’s House in east London houses 123 men and like all Salvation Army Lifehouses (hostels) is an example of how to help people beat the rough sleeping cycle. As well as a place to stay it offers specialist support to help people address the complex causes which led to them being on the streets. These can range from mental ill health, relationship breakdown and drug and alcohol addictions. Residents also get practical guidance in working towards employment and training, as well as help with applying for benefits.
In December the Government announced £260m in funding to help councils support homeless people and those at risk of losing their homes. The money is for councils to employ advisers to work with people struggling to make their rent payments.
The Salvation Army is calling for:
- More investment in supported housing to help end the revolving door of homelessness and get people forced to sleep rough off the streets
- 90,000 more low cost homes for social rent to be built every year.
- An increase in the value of the local housing allowance (the rate of housing benefit used in the private rented sector) so that three in every 10 rented homes are affordable to people on benefits and low incomes.
David Blower, Partnership manager for saha (The Salvation Army Housing Association), said: “The visit by Kate Henderson, was a real encouragement to our colleagues who are working tirelessly to support people as they turn their lives around.
“Both the work of saha and the Salvation Army is key in helping people get off the streets and break the cycle of homelessness. It is clear that Government action is required to end the current homeless crisis.”