Our response to the HCLG Select Committee report on protecting renters and rough sleepers

02 June 2020

On 22 May, the Homes, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) Select Committee published its interim report on protecting renters and rough sleepers during the coronavirus crisis.

The main recommendations from the Committee’s report were that MHCLG should:

  • In responding to the crisis, end rough sleeping in England once and for all. 
  • Improve financial support to councils for people with no recourse to public funds to prevent them returning to sleeping rough. 
  • Ensure that rough sleepers do not end up back on the streets due to lack of suitable housing.
  • Introduce legislation to protect tenants who will be in arrears due to coronavirus. 
  • Abolish no fault evictions (Section 21) in the next 12 months. 
  • Raise Local Housing Allowance to a level that reflects real market rents and the 30th percentile should be maintained. 

The Committee also recommended that MHCLG should work with the LGA and the NHF to develop targeted grant funding for councils and housing associations to acquire properties, including new homes close to being finished that may no longer be in demand. This would ensure an adequate supply of immediately-available supported housing, including for rough sleepers.

Instead of having two months to respond to this interim report, the Committee have asked for a response from MHCLG by 12 June.

Our response to the recommendations

On 1 May, we submitted a response to the HCLG Committee Inquiry on the impact of coronavirus on homelessness, rough sleeping and the private rented sector. In our submission we focused on homelessness and rough sleeping and highlighted that:

  • There must be a plan to rehouse those who are in self-isolation accommodation into suitable, permanent housing with appropriate support.
  • This must sit alongside guidance on how this can be done successfully and planning to overcome practical barriers.
  • Long-term thinking must also be applied to prevent further homelessness after we emerge from the current crisis.

We agree that the government should work to end rough sleeping and that we must not allow the recent progress made on accommodating rough sleepers go to waste. This will require substantial investment in support services.

We have recently produced resources for housing associations who want to work with local authorities to help rehouse the people currently in hotel or other temporary accommodation and people fleeing domestic abuse. We are also asking for a new generation of affordable housing as part of our work on recovery. This will also have a hugely positive effect on levels of homelessness and rough sleeping.

We want to build on what has already been achieved, and make sure there are sustainable solutions for people currently accommodated and for those at risk of homelessness.