Kerslake warns government: support everyone or risk “backing down”
Homelessness prevention work will fail again unless the achievements of the Everyone in the Age of Pandemic campaign are substantiated, warned former civil service chief Lord Bob Kerslake.
A new report released by the Kerslake Commission of which he is chairman concludes that the government’s Everyone’s initiative, which has made it possible for people sleeping rough to find safety during the pandemic, should continue to be funded by the through the Rough Sleeping Initiative, with a funding settlement of at least three years. and an annual expenditure of £ 335.5 million.
Lord Kerslake, also a former chief executive of Sheffield City Council, said: “There is now a choice for the government and all those involved in preventing and combating sleep on the streets.
“We can build on Everyone’s success and use it as a stimulus to change and improve or we can step back and miss the opportunity. “
Lord Kerslake said there is no single answer to ending restless sleep, but a series of actions are needed in terms of prevention, rapid response and new arrangements, which taken together would constitute “a substantial system change from the way things have been done so far.” All are practical and deliverable ”.
Stronger intergovernmental planning, sufficient funding and integrated collaboration between local governments, health and housing service providers and the homeless are at the heart of the changes needed, according to the report – A new way of working: stop sleeping together – said.
The commission’s recommendations to local authorities included that they should produce long-term integrated homelessness and health strategies, as well as rapid relocation plans.
This would include a local needs assessment conducted through homelessness partnerships, but based on a standardized methodology defined by the government. In turn, this would be used to quantify how much money was needed from the central government.
To encourage working in partnership, local authorities and integrated care systems should have common processes for ordering services, with greater use of pan-regional ordering of specialist services to ensure that an appropriate supply of support is always available. available.
Lord Kerslake said that a “crucial idea” is that “restless sleep and homelessness should be seen as both a housing and a health problem”.
“Poor health is both a cause and a consequence of homelessness,” he said. “Early action can prevent much more serious health problems later on. “
Lord Kerslake also called on the government not to roll back poverty alleviation measures adopted for the pandemic which saw local housing allowance rates increased to the 30th percentile of local rents and universal credit increased to £ 20 per week .