“The worrying number of people in rent arrears and at risk of eviction because of the pandemic has kept me up at night for months. Hearing that the government are taking action to stop mass homelessness from becoming a reality is a great relief.
“This will save an avalanche of people from the damaging experience of homelessness – as well as saving the Treasury millions on all the associated costs. This is exactly the kind of step in the right direction that we need, shifting the focus to prevention and long-term thinking rather than waiting for the crisis happens.”
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The Homelessness Prevention Grant will be available for 2022/23 and includes an additional £5.8m to support people forced into homelessness by domestic abuse.
The funding announcement comes a day after the government also announced £28m to help rough sleepers get their Covid-19 vaccines and access safe accommodation as Omicron continues to spread around the UK.
Rough sleeping minister Eddie Hughes said: “I have seen first-hand the devastation of those who come face to face with homelessness, and my heart goes out to anyone in this situation.
“The support we are announcing today is going directly to communities that need it most. It will help thousands of people across England, with councils able to prevent homelessness before it occurs and put a roof over the heads of those who have lost their homes.”
The focus on prevention has also been praised by youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.
Balbir Chatrik, director of policy at Centrepoint, said: “We welcome the funding announced today, especially as it’s focused on prevention – more and more young people are facing homelessness every year, so it’s absolutely crucial that we do as much as we can to stop this.”
As well as funding to tackle rent arrears, The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign is calling for a suspension to no-fault evictions – which allow a landlord to evict a tenant for no reason. Ministers will lay out their reform plans to replace no fault evictions in 2022 in a white paper.
The campaign is urging the government to invest in jobs and training in sustainable industries to ensure people are not at risk of losing their home in the future.
For more information on the Stop Mass Homelessness campaign, head here.