Tackling Homelessness Together – our consultation response

We’ve responded to the Government’s new consultation, Tackling Homelessness Together, which looks at structures supporting partnerships and accountability in homelessness services, and how these can be improved.

17 May 2019

The consultation, available on the Government’s website, is seeking views on:

  • the effectiveness of existing non-statutory and statutory local accountability and partnership structures in homelessness services
  • whether the Government should introduce Homelessness Reduction Boards and, if so, how this could be done most effectively
  • how else local accountability and partnership working in homelessness services can be improved.

We have shaped our response around the findings from events we held with the Local Government Association (LGA) last year, a survey to our members and through conversations with our members, including our Homelessness Steering Group.

Our consultation response focuses on three areas

1. The lack of coordination in current structures

Our members have told us that they are involved in a variety of local partnership structures, but report that there is a lack of consistency, coordination and strategic direction to these. This can undermine the ability to make system change and hold partners to account. Current structures often do not involve other parts of the system, such as health or substance use, which presents further challenges.

2. Our support of the Government’s proposal to create Homelessness Reduction Boards

Their primary responsibility should be to develop a coordinated, multi-agency approach to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping in a local area. Activities should include identifying local needs through data analysis, developing and monitoring the implementation of the local homelessness and rough sleeping strategies, and holding partner agencies to account.

3. That accountability structures alone are not enough

If the Government is serious about ending rough sleeping and tackling homelessness, it must provide substantial investment to deliver the 340,000 homes a year the country needs, which includes 90,000 homes for social rent. 

It must also deliver a fair and effective welfare system, secure and joined-up funding for supported housing, and support local authorities to meet their statutory duties on homelessness. Any new structures designed to improve accountability will be limited in impact unless housing associations and local partners are equipped with sufficient resources to reduce homelessness.

Housing associations are key partners in tackling homelessness and we welcome and encourage the Government’s proposals to improve local accountability for delivering homelessness support and services. However, to end homelessness and rough sleeping, the Government must invest in social housing, welfare, local authorities, and support funding.

For more details, download our full submission to the consultation.