Labor sees national housing as its first promise to tackle the homelessness crisis

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Labor sees the National Housing Promise as the first to tackle the homelessness crisis

PoliticsHome understands that Labor is considering three main thrusts for their policies to tackle the homelessness crisis. (Alamy)

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Exclusive: Labor is considering a manifesto pledge to roll out Housing First nationwide in a bid to tackle Britain’s growing crisis of homelessness and rough sleeping, PoliticsHome understands.

Housing First works on the basis of seven key principles, including the right to a home; giving individuals control over the type and location of their housing; and a focus on harm reduction.

It was originally commissioned by local authorities in England on a small scale in 2010, but was then expanded by the government in 2017 to test implementation at a regional level with £28 million of investment; Combined authorities in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham are currently pilot areas.

Manchester Labor Mayor Andy Burnham said this in September PoliticsHome The plan had been crucial to the city’s success in reducing rough sleep rates despite national increases, and said it had given the city “the confidence to improve A Bed Every Night” – Burnham’s flagship homelessness strategy .

However, there is currently uncertainty over the future of the program in pilot areas, with the government announcing no funding for it beyond 2025.

PoliticsHome understands that the Labor Party is considering rolling out this policy nationally as their major policy offering on homelessness, following the success of Housing First, both in pilot areas in Britain and where it is being implemented internationally in countries such as Finland, which is has almost completely eliminated homelessness.

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In January, Indoor housing reported 92 percent of Housing First participants in pilot areas in England were now living in long-term accommodation. And a report from Homeless Link Results showed that 50.4 percent of Housing First participants showed a reduction in their mental health needs after the first year of the program, followed by 58.2 percent and 54.5 percent who showed a reduction in mental health needs at the end of the second and third years respectively.

The Labor Party is also considering providing additional funding to local councils so they can have localized data to prevent vulnerable people – such as those who have been expelled from school or recently released from prison – becoming homeless. PoliticsHome understands that the policy was fully paid for by the party.

There is also a third core policy the party is considering on homelessness, which is awaiting signature from Labor leader Keir Starmer’s office.

Labour’s plans to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping come after the government failed to meet its target to end rough sleeping by 2024. Instead, homelessness and rough sleeping are currently at record highs in England and Wales – with government figures showing an estimated 3,898 people are counted as rough sleeping. rough across England in one night in 2023, a 27 percent increase on the previous year.

Between July and September 2023, 109,000 households were recorded as homeless and living in temporary accommodation, a record high and a 10 percent increase on the previous year – including 142,490 children.

The PvdA declined to comment.

Responding to the story that Matt Downie, CEO of Crisis, told PoliticsHome the national rollout of Housing First is said to be “transformational”.

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“Person-centred support such as Housing First provides safe homes for people in vulnerable situations and gives them a stable platform on which to build a new life away from homelessness,” Downie said.

“With rough sleeping on the rise across the country, it is promising to see this proven solution to help people rebuild their lives away from the streets being considered. We look forward to seeing more details on how Labor and the other major parties propose to end homelessness for good.”

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