"The cost of not acting now is too great, as we stand on the precipice of a new emergency."
The government has been urged to reinstate the eviction ban, in order to prevent a catastrophic homelessness crisis.
The former head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, who chairs the Kerslake Commission warned in a new report published today by the Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping that a failure to act “could see this become a homelessness as well as an economic crisis and the results could be catastrophic; with all the good achieved in reducing street homelessness since the pandemic lost, and any hope of the government meeting its manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping by 2024 gone”.
The government had put in place an evictions ban during the pandemic which was extended several times.
Given the cost of living crisis, with millions facing financial hardship, the report warns that much bolder action is needed if the government is to meet its target of ending rough sleeping by 2024.
The report warns: “We now need further emergency action to match the scale of the cost-of-living crisis, with a concerted focus on those who are most at risk of destitution, if we are going to achieve the goal of ending rough sleeping by 2024.
“The cost of not acting now is too great, as we stand on the precipice of a new emergency.”
The Commission, which is made up of an independent group of 36 experts from the health, housing and homelessness sectors, including people with lived experience, as well as representatives from local and national government, has also urged the government to increase the benefit cap and bring benefits in line with inflation immediately – not in April 2023 as planned.
It has also called for the raising of local housing allowances so that so they are in line with the bottom 30% of the market.
Rebecca Sycamore, Interim Chief Executive of homelessness charity St Mungo’s said: “As a leading provider of frontline homelessness services we see every day the very real and very harsh reality of this financial crisis.
“And with more price increases, and the colder weather coming, it is very likely many of those currently just scraping by will no longer be able to manage, and could be at real risk of losing their homes.
“In order to prevent this from becoming a homelessness crisis action is needed now – and we fully support the new recommendations made by the Commission and urge Liz Truss and her ministers to introduce these measures as a matter of urgency to prevent more people ending up homeless this winter.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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