Monday, 8 June 2020
Campaign reply - ‘Youth homelessness in our constituency’
A number of constituents have contacted me as part of a campaign called ‘Youth homelessness in our constituency’
This Government is committed to supporting vulnerable claimants, such as those with mental health conditions or experiencing homelessness. We understand that these claimants may face extra challenges in their lives. Universal Credit is designed to target resources at those that need them most and to provide support for people who cannot work or need help moving towards the labour market.
We recognise the importance of understanding how a mental health condition impacts someone’s ability to prepare for and look for work. That is why we have developed a range of specialised mental health training for work coaches and increased the number of Disability Employment Advisers who can provide additional support where needed. Furthermore, we have a number of Community Partners recruited specifically for their expertise in mental health issues, that can provide advice that is often based on lived experience.
In the case of homeless claimants, it is our priority to ensure that people experiencing homelessness get the appropriate support they need to improve their lives and move into work. For example, we are able to put job-seeking requirements on hold temporarily whilst claimants find accommodation or stabilise their housing situation, as well as priority access to the Work and Health Programme.
We are supporting the manifesto commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eradicate it altogether by 2027 through the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Reduction Taskforce, and commitments set out in the recent Rough Sleeping Strategy. Furthermore, work coaches in England are legally bound to offer a voluntary referral to claimants they consider may be homeless or threatened with homelessness to a Local Housing Authority of the claimant’s choice.
Rough sleepers, or those at risk of rough sleeping have also been supported by £3.2 million of initial emergency funding if they need to self-isolate to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The funding has been available to all local authorities in England and will reimburse them for the cost of providing accommodation and services to those sleeping on the streets to help them successfully self-isolate.
I was also pleased to see at the weekend, the Government announce further funding to support homelessness prevention charities, and that St Petroc’s Society and Harbour Housing in Mid-Cornwall have both received some.
This is in addition to the £492 million committed in 2020 to 2021 to support the government’s ambition to end rough sleeping in this Parliament, a £124 million increase in funding from the previous year. This forms part of £643 million in funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over the next four years.
This initial emergency response funding will ensure swift support is offered to people who are unable to self-isolate, such as those staying in night shelters or assessment hubs, as well as people who are currently sleeping rough.