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Rough Sleeping

Volume 602: debated on Monday 9 November 2015

The Government are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in society. One person without a home is one too many. That is why, since 2010, we have invested more than £500 million to prevent and tackle homelessness in England.

Across the UK, homelessness has increased by more than a third in the past five years. In my home city of Norwich, it has doubled in the past year alone, with devastating consequences for one rough sleeper, known locally as Sergio, who was found dead on the streets of the city a couple of months ago. Will the Minister tell us why there is nothing in the Housing and Planning Bill to tackle this disgrace?

The hon. Gentleman mentions a significant incident in his constituency. I reassure him that the Government are committed to helping rough sleepers to get off the streets. The “No Second Night Out” scheme that we have supported is delivering that. We are also funding the world’s first homelessness social impact bond, which is reaching 830 entrenched rough sleepers in London who have been sleeping rough for a considerable time, and getting them off the streets and into accommodation.

I am assisting a young woman from Syria who on Thursday will be made homeless from her Serco accommodation. She has no prospect of alternative housing because she is not deemed to be a priority housing need. How many single people, including young female refugees like Samia, are at risk of having to sleep rough? What is the estimate for the increase in those numbers if the Welfare Reform and Work Bill is enacted?

As I said in response to the previous question, my Department is working extremely hard to prevent single homelessness. I am committed to doing more to improve services to help people who have complex needs. We are supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society. I am holding a series of round tables with the homelessness sector to support people like the hon. Lady’s constituent.