Government pledges £100 million to help as homelessness rises in Derbyshire

18 August 2015 .......      Stock Picture.' Homeless sleeping rough in the centre of Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson
18 August 2015 ....... Stock Picture.' Homeless sleeping rough in the centre of Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson

The government has pledged £100 million to end rough sleeping, which will help the rising numbers of homeless people on the streets in Derbyshire.

Homelessness charities have welcomed the strategy to end rough sleeping by 2027, but warned it will not provide a “total fix”.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show that thirty-seven people in Derby were thought to be sleeping rough each night in autumn last year, the most recent period for which numbers are available.

Across the East Midlands, there were an estimated 313 rough sleepers - the highest level since data was first published in 2010 - with the region accounting for 7% of the 4,751 people sleeping rough across England.

The new strategy will focus on stopping people from becoming homeless in the first place, provide support for mental health and addictions, and help people secure accommodation.

The budget includes £50 million for homes outside London for those ready to move on from hostels or refuges, and £30 million for mental health support for rough sleepers.

The Prime Minister, Theresa May, said: “Nobody should have to sleep rough and that’s why we must do all we can to help the most vulnerable in our society get the support they need.

“But we recognise this is a complex issue - as well as ensuring people have somewhere to live, we have to deal with underlying problems and ultimately help people turn their lives around.”

Rough sleeping has become an increasingly widespread problem in recent years, with the number of people across England affected increasing year-on-year since data was first published in 2010. Over that time, the number of rough sleepers nearly tripled.

The rise has been reflected in Derby, where there were just four rough sleepers counted in 2010.

In a joint statement, seven homelessness charities who advised ministers hailed the strategy as “a significant step towards the Government’s goal of ending rough sleeping by 2027, which will make a real difference to people’s lives”.

However, the charities - Crisis, Homeless Link, National Housing Federation, Shelter, St Basils, St Mungos and Thames Reach - warned: “For the strategy to work, the Government must also set out bold, cross-departmental plans to tackle the root causes of all forms of homelessness and prevent it from happening in the first place.

“This must include plans to build significantly more social housing, to foster greater security for renters, to ensure people have access to benefits and other support they need to help them keep their homes.”