Government launches £266m housing fund for vulnerable people

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has recently (18th July 2020) launched the ‘Next Steps Accommodation’ Programme. Councils and their local partners can apply for funds from the programme to cover property costs and support new tenancies for around 15,000 vulnerable people who were provided with emergency accommodation during the pandemic.

A total of £105 million, revenue only funding,  is now available to ensure interim accommodation and support continues for those who need it and can be used to help people move into the private rented sector, extend or secure alternative interim accommodation or where possible help people to reconnect with friends or family. Those funds must be “utilised” in 20/21.

In addition, first wave funding, totalling £161 million, is also available to provide 3,300 additional supported homes this year for those currently housed in emergency accommodation. Organisations wishing to bid for the £161 million must clearly demonstrate in their proposal how the funding will be used to bring forward long-term, move-on accommodation.

The £161 million for this financial year is split into £130 million capital funding and £31 million revenue funding. The funds are, we understand, to be “utilised” (expended) by the end of March 2021.

Bids for all parts of the funding must be submitted by 20 August 2020 so there is no time to lose in getting your LA / provider partnerships organised and agreeing priorities.

ARK recognises that the funding, part of the response coordinated by Dame Louise Casey, who has been leading the COVID-19 Rough Sleeping Taskforce presents challenges in terms of bidding and delivery deadlines but we think this is a welcome fillip to attempt to stop rough sleeping returning to “normal”.