UK government’s pledge to end homelessness

The UK government’s pledge to end homelessness by 2027 has been welcomed by English bishops.

They hope the £100 million plan to help end rough sleeping on England’s streets will be put into place urgently.

Around 4,750 people are estimated to sleep rough on any given night in England.

The scheme, which was launched on Monday, will offer cash for mental health and addiction support as well as help with accommodation.

The scheme’s focus will be stopping people becoming homeless in the first place, with “swift, targeted support” to get those in crisis off the streets and into long-term housing, a Westminster spokesman says.

The plan includes £50 million for homes outside London. These will be provided to people ready to move on from hostels or refuges. An additional £30 million will be provided for mental health support for rough sleepers.

Bishop Richard Moth of Arundel and Brighton said he was “especially pleased” funding is targeted toward mental health help and treatment for substance misuse, “problems from which many of those living on the streets suffer.”

Moth is the lead bishop for the Catholic Mental Health Project. This project works to support the Catholic community to further develop spiritual and pastoral care for mental health.

“While this plan is significant, we hope that further steps will be taken to ensure the sense of urgency that this challenge demands,” Moth said.

According to the London-based Mental Health Foundation, homelessness and mental health often go hand in hand.

“Having a mental health problem can create the circumstances which can cause a person to become homeless in the first place,” the organisation said on its website.

“Yet poor housing or homelessness can also increase the chances of developing a mental health problem or exacerbate an existing condition. In turn, this can make it even harder for that person to recover – to develop good mental health, to secure stable housing, to find and maintain a job, to stay physically healthy and to maintain relationships.”

“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,” Prime Minister Theresa May says.

“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.”


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