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Church News

The Salvation Army warns Chancellor not to squander progress made on rough sleeping in spending review

by Cara Bentley

Church and charity The Salvation Army and other major homelessness charities are asking the Government not to abandon their progress made on housing rough sleepers this year when announcing their spending review on 25th November. 

The spending review will set out the Government's priorities and budgets for next year in light of the coronavirus crisis and protecting jobs. 
 
The Salvation Army has written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to warn him that he risks abandoning any progress made in reducing rough sleeping this year if the Government spends less next year. 
 
The letter has been also been signed by Housing Justice, Caritas, the YMCA and others. 
 
Recent figures show that 55 per cent of rough sleepers who have become homeless through the pandemic have not been homeless before. Many of them have lost accommodation as a result of the economic downturn. 
 
The Salvation Army says many of those who were housed during the first lockdown are still without permanent accommodation and do not have the long-term support needed to tackle the reasons for their homelessness, such as mental ill health, fleeing domestic violence and addictions. 
 
Lorrita Johnson, Salvation Army director of homelessness services, said: "We understand why the Chancellor has to make short-term spending commitments to tackle the economic fall out of the pandemic, but we need assurances that money will be set aside to protect people from homelessness. Currently we have no idea what will happen to funding at the end of March 2021. 

"Not only is there a moral argument for protecting people from the risks of sleeping on the streets, but there is also an economic argument to invest now to save money in the future. If the crisis is allowed to spiral once again, as well as rough sleeping rising, thousands of families will end up in temporary accommodation, at a cost to local authorities of billions of pounds every year."
 
They are calling for the Chancellor to invest £1billion in homelessness, or at least to match this year's spending in his budget for next year. 
 
The charity says it is braced for the worst Christmas in years for rough sleepers and is battling to protect people with nowhere to turn around the country. 
 

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