Britain could end homelessness in a decade, report says
Homelessness in Britain could be eradicated within 10 years with the correct measures in place, according to a report.
UK Government policies needed to end homelessness have been set out in a report by charity Crisis called Everybody In: How To End Homelessness In Great Britain.
The plan has been endorsed by experts in the US, Canada and Finland, who are leading successful movements to end homelessness in their countries, Crisis said.
The report follows work with the Chartered Institute of Housing, Heriot-Watt University, the National Housing Federation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).
The report's findings include that 100,500 social homes need to be built each year for the next 15 years to meet the needs of both homeless people and the wider cohort of people in Britain on low incomes.
The plan says that a national roll-out of Housing First would benefit more than 18,000 homeless people, by providing homes that come with a package of specialised support.
The plan also sets out the policies needed to support people once they are housed, including better rights and longer tenancies for private renters, and reforming housing benefits.
Ending homelessness will also require hospitals, prisons, the care system, and other parts of the state to play a role, the research finds.
Crisis said these organisations should be legally required to help prevent people leaving their care from becoming homeless.
The plan also proposes that job centres have homelessness specialists.
PwC found that, over the next decade, these policies would cost £9.9 billion and deliver benefits worth £26.4 billion, Crisis said.
Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: "For the first time ever, we have a comprehensive plan that shows exactly how we can address the root causes of homelessness and make it a thing of the past."
"Other parts of the world are taking huge strides towards ending it, and Britain can too."
"We must not become a society that simply accepts homelessness as 'a sad fact of life', because the good news is that we know it doesn't have to be this way."
Crisis said there are currently 236,000 people across England, Wales and Scotland who are homeless.
This includes people living on the streets, in cars and tents, or in unsuitable temporary accommodation.
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association's Housing spokesman, said: "It is essential that all councils are able to borrow to build new homes and adapt welfare reforms to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place.
"A genuine renaissance in council housebuilding would increase housing supply, boost home ownership and reduce homelessness."
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said it was committed to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping, working with charities like Crisis.
"We are investing more than £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness and just last week we announced £30 million for councils to help boost the immediate support available to people living on the streets."
"We are also investing £9 billion to build more affordable homes and are piloting the Housing First approach in three major regions to get people off the streets and into stable accommodation."