LGA responds to NAO report on housing rough sleepers during COVID-19

“If councils are to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place, short-term reactive pots of funding need to be replaced by long-term funding issued through multi-year settlements to give councils the certainty they need to plan local services.”


homeless person sitting in street with red hat and a cardboard sign

Responding to a report by the National Audit Office, investigating the housing of rough sleepers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said:

“The success of the Everyone In initiative in getting people sleeping rough off the streets and saving lives shows we can end the vast majority of rough sleeping. As this report suggests, it is vital that we build on the lessons learnt, and strive to make this the new normal, rather than a one-off emergency response.

“Government funding for councils to tackle existing rough sleeping has helped. However, following the new lockdown, councils are likely to need further resources to protect rough sleepers. We also urge the Government to lift the No Recourse to Public Funds condition so that councils can ensure that everyone who is vulnerable can access help if needed, regardless of immigration status.

“If councils are to prevent homelessness from happening in the first place, short-term reactive pots of funding need to be replaced by long-term funding issued through multi-year settlements to give councils the certainty they need to plan local services.”

Notes to editors

  1. A recent report by the LGA on fragmented funding for local services found that homelessness services have been issued with 12 short-term funding grants since 2015 - half of these were allocated through a competitive process. This is placing extra stress on an over-stretched homelessness system, as officers are often required to scope and complete an extensive application within limited timeframes – sometimes as short as one month.