Government funding plans “short sighted”

26 January 2018

Homelessness hostels could shut if new government funding plans go ahead, warns our chief executive.

Services providing short-term accommodation for up to two years (such as Porchlight’s homelessness hostels) will no longer receive funding from the welfare system. Instead, they will receive funding through a ring-fenced grant to local authorities. The local authorities can issue this money at their own discretion.

Porchlight CEO Mike Barrett has described the new funding system, which would begin in April 2020, as dangerous and short-sighted.

MPs debated the proposal last week. Porchlight and other charities up and down the country have been asking them to oppose this potentially devastating new funding model but, so far, nothing has changed.

Under the new proposals to fund supported housing:

  • Councils will decide whether or not to funding will be given, and…
  • Residents will no longer be required to make small payments towards rent & bills (this will be done for them).

Mike Barrett explains why both of these things will be a problem: “This short-sighted approach will leave homelessness charities very uncertain about the future. Worryingly, there’s a possibility that it could cause hostels to close.

“Years of government austerity have left councils with very difficult decisions to make about how they spend their money. If they are to decide whether or not homelessness services can be funded in these difficult times, there is a possibility the funding may not happen. This means that we will constantly be uncertain about the future, and won’t be able to plan for it while the homelessness crisis worsens.

“It will also negatively affect our ability to help people who have been homeless regain their independence. While staying with us, they make small monthly payments towards rent and bills – a responsibility which will be taken away from them. Although this sounds like good news, making regular payments teaches them to better manage their money – an important skill for when they leave us and get a place of their own.”

We will continue campaigning for a different approach that ensures a more secure future for homelessness services.

Many of you have already added your voices to our campaigning work. If that includes you then thank you. You still have an important role to play – please help us to keep up the pressure on the government and together we can create a more positive future for vulnerable people.