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Victoria Pearson / PA Wire
Homeless person credit Victoria Jones and PA Wire.jpg
Victoria Pearson / PA Wire
UK News

Salvation Army calls for urgent action on homeless crisis

by Ruth Sax

Christian charity The Salvation Army is calling on the Government to "prioritise consistent funding to combat homelessness".

Government figures showed 4,266 people on the streets on one night in autumn 2019, a fall of 9 per cent on the year before.

Separate figures obtained from councils by the BBC suggest the figures are a lot higher and 25,000 individuals slept rough in England at some point in the year.

Mr Johnson has pledged a further £236m to tackle homelessness and called figures released this week "totally unacceptable".

Giving his reaction to the official Annual Rough Sleeping Count figures, Malcolm Page, The Salvation Army's assistant director of homelessness services, said: "Fewer people being forced to sleep rough is a glimmer of hope, but we have a long way to go to help everyone who is without a safe place to shelter tonight and every night. 

"The Government's announcement today of £236m to help tackle rough sleeping through Housing First style accommodation is welcome, as is a review of the causes of homelessness. However, it can only go so far. Urgent action and long-term solutions are desperately needed to stop the causes of homelessness in the first place and to get people off the streets for good. 

"We desperately need further investment in support services which are proven to help people get their lives back on track. A piecemeal, short- term approach to funding will not help these vulnerable people. Quick fixes will not work. 

"The Government must prioritise consistent funding to combat homelessness to keep its promise to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament. The latest this would be is 2025, so reversing cuts to services, including addiction and mental health support must happen now. 

"Rough sleeping is a visible epidemic in our cities, towns and suburbs, with those who are on the streets dealing with some of the most difficult life issues like fleeing domestic violence, childhood trauma, mental ill health or drug and alcohol dependency. 

 "When the Government launched its Rough Sleeping Strategy in August 2018 it promised to update the strategy on an annual basis. But we are yet to see any update published. We really want to see a revised strategy urgently, with an explanation of how the Government plans to meet its goal to end rough sleeping for good."

The figures showed 83 per cent of rough sleepers counted in England on one night were male.

Six of the 4,266 people recorded were under 18 and a further 201 were under 25.

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