Emergency funding for homelessness providers

18 May 2020

Government brings forward funding for new supported homes to end rough sleeping

The government has announced that funding will be fast-tracked to make long-term homes available for rough sleepers who have been placed in temporary accommodation during the coronavirus outbreak.

We welcome this announcement. We have called for housing and support to be made available for rough sleepers and have asked for certainty around funding. We recently wrote to Dame Louise Casey, alongside housing association partners and Homes for Cathy, CIH, Homeless Link and the National Federation of ALMOs, with an offer to work closely with Dame Louise on the Rough Sleeping Taskforce announced earlier in the year.

What the announcement means for housing associations

  • The funding will ensure 3,300 homes will be made available over the next 12 months. This will be achieved by accelerating some of the funding for rough sleeping services announced in the Spring Budget, where the government pledged to provide 6,000 homes in total.
  • The government has also committed an extra £52m extra funding from what was announced in the Budget, meaning £433m will be made available over a four-year period (£160m will be made available this year).

We will monitor further announcements closely and inform our members when the funding has been allocated or bidding is opened.

As well as accelerating capital funding for investment in housing stock, the government is increasing the revenue part of the programme by 37% to “make sure that the rough sleepers have the support they need to stay off the streets for good”. The support funding will also be available for four years.

Update on the Rough Sleeping Taskforce

Homes England has also committed to work alongside MHCLG and partners to support the Rough Sleeping Taskforce. In addition, the Department for Education will provide £700,000 for councils to support care leavers at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping.

Dame Louise Casey has also called on all parts of society, including communities, businesses, charities and faith groups, to join forces and help new Rough Sleeping Taskforce, and announced that nearly 15,000 rough sleepers have been housed in emergency accommodation such as hotels since the beginning of the crisis. Community partners have committed their support, including:

  • Business in the Community, The Prince’s Responsible Business Network, bringing together private sector partners to support rough sleepers.
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster highlighted the role that churches and faith groups will play.
  • The Prince’s Trust exploring how best to provide long-term employment and training support to help young rough sleepers into work.
  • Comic Relief pledging to support the crucial work of charities and frontline workers through Crisis and Homeless Link.
  • St Martin-in-the-Fields charity putting £1 into a support package for people moving to longer term accommodation.
  • Housing Justice joining forces with The Passage’s ‘Home for Good’ scheme to mobilise its network of churches and other faith and community groups.

The government plans to work with councils, local leaders and the property sector through the Rough Sleeping Taskforce. The work aims to ensure that housing is delivered as quickly as possible and in the most cost-effective way.  Interim accommodation is also being committed by the YHA, the YMCA and some universities. 

Housing associations are well placed to work with local authorities to provide housing for rough sleepers. The NHF already sits on the government’s Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel and we will be seeking to work closely with the taskforce as well.  

While the funding announcement is very welcome, we will keep pressing for the other funding and the changes we need to ensure there is absolutely no return to rough sleeping. There is also an immediate need to support councils to provide homes for people who will be quickly moved on from the hotels where they have been temporarily housed.

Emergency fund for homelessness charities

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced £6m of emergency funding for homelessness providers who have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The COVID-19 Homelessness Response Fund will support frontline charities working directly with people experiencing homelessness. To be eligible organisations applying must have an annual turnover of less than £5m.

Grants are available for either/or both of the following purposes:

  • To help alleviate the financial impact of coronavirus on the organisation.
  • To provide new or adapted services to homeless people affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

You can apply online until 21 May. For more information you can read further guidance and frequently asked questions about the fund.

New funding to support domestic abuse and modern slavery survivors

Bids are now open for domestic abuse safe accommodation and homelessness funding.

The government has announced more than £76m in extra funding to support those most vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis.

This funding will support survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and modern slavery as well as ensuring vulnerable children and young people continue to get the help they need. Further information is below.

The government has also announced that those at risk of homelessness because of fleeing domestic abuse will automatically be in priority need under local authorities’ duty to relieve homelessness.

This funding should also help frontline charities to offer different ways of supporting those in need, including through virtual or telephone-based services.

How to access the funding

  • It is now possible to bid for funding from the £10m available for domestic abuse safe accommodation charities - you can read more on the government's website.
  • The funding can be used for additional refuge bed spaces and specialist support to help deal with increased demand. It covers support rather than capital costs.
  • The fund will be open for domestic abuse charities in England, including refuges, to bid for a share. Organisations should be able to apply either as a single organisation or as part of a consortium. 
  • The deadline is Thursday 21 May.

An additional £6m will also be made available for homelessness charities to support their work during this time. This funding will be shared among organisations who are on the frontline keeping vulnerable people without a home safe, and giving them the help they need during the coronavirus outbreak.

So far there is no further detail of when organisations will be able to bid for this additional money. We are seeking clarity on this fund and will provide further updates shortly. 

Further information on how the £76m will be allocated

  • Domestic abuse survivors: £28m to help survivors of domestic abuse and their children by providing more safe spaces, accommodation and access to support services during the coronavirus outbreak.  
  • Survivors of sexual violence: £10m to support victims of sexual violence access advice and support, through the funding of technology to enable charities to offer services remotely. A further £3m per annum until 2022 will also be invested in the recruitment of more Independent Sexual Violence Advisors across the country.
  • Survivors of modern slavery: £1.73m for emergency support to modern slavery charities who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. This funding will go towards individuals supported through the Modern Slavery Victim Care Contract. It will allow victims to stay in government-funded safe accommodation for the next three months, access financial assistance, access support services remotely, and ensure additional demand on services can be managed during this period.

You can read the full statement on the government’s website.

Who to speak to

Suzannah Young, Policy Officer