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Rough Sleeping Strategy

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

The Government are today publishing a new rough sleeping strategy “No one left out—communities ending rough sleeping”. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

Ten years ago, the Government set out an ambitious plan to cut rough sleeping by two thirds. Thanks to the determination of our partners in local authorities, the voluntary sector and other agencies dealing with the homeless, we achieved that goal several years ago. There have been significant and sustained reductions in the number of people who sleep rough on the streets.

Our success in tackling rough sleeping so far is something in which we lead the world and of which this country can be proud, but we are not complacent. Ten years on from our first strategy, we are determined to make further progress. Our vision is to end rough sleeping once and for all. And we know that many of our partners share this determination and we will work across Government to make progress.

This new strategy signals our intent to work with our partners to end rough sleeping once and for all by 2012. To make this happen we want to make sure that in every part of the country people get the help they need, so no one has to sleep rough. Services will act promptly to prevent rough sleeping from occurring in the first place, or to bring people in from the streets as quickly as possible. People who have slept rough will be supported to improve their health, consider employment options and rebuild their lives.

After a decade of progress we have learnt from our experiences, and are more confident and determined than ever that we can make progress towards this goal, building on the commitment, innovation and energy of our partners across Government, in local authorities, the third sector and communities. The strategy sets out a fifteen point action plan for the next four years. The tougher economic climate may bring new pressures and challenges, but I am confident that the strategy prepares us well for the future. The Government is investing £200 million to prevent homelessness and tackle rough sleeping.

This new strategy will help us make the final push, ending rough sleeping once and for all.