Routes out of Rough Sleeping Report 2017
A major independent report into rough sleeping in one of Britain’s major cities calls for a change in legislation that prevents people from claiming support.
The policy of 'No Recourse to Public Funds' has been pinpointed as a major contributory factor in the growth of rough sleeping in the past decade.
As well as calling on the Government to urgently review how those with no address can claim benefits, the 'Routes out of Rough Sleeping' report also identifies failings within the health service to meet the complex needs of rough sleepers – with 71% having some form of mental health issue.
The authors of the report, believed to be the most in-depth undertaken in the UK and commissioned by the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, also state that the time has come for a major public awareness campaign to debunk myths around homelessness, and for the establishment of a new charity to ensure funds are directly benefiting those affected.
Co-authored by John Finnegan, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Homeless Football League and Simon Whitter, who was once a rough sleeper, the report has identified 10 key action points to help tackle the underlying causes of rough sleeping and called for an academic based study into the issue.
The pair, whose taskforce interviewed more than 130 people and organisations over the course of a three month period, have concluded that the public, private and voluntary sectors need to form a coordinated response in a bid to prioritise care and negate practices that are maintaining the 'street lifestyle', which is predominantly underpinned by substance misuse.
Another key recommendation is for the implementation of a more integrated approach between social housing providers, local authorities, health and community organisations and specifically to establish a series of pilots such as a new social housing model for young, single people.