Thank you for contacting me about the Criminal Justice Bill and rough sleeping.
The Government is acting to end rough sleeping once and for all, backed by £2 billion worth of investment over three years. The Government’s ‘Ending Rough Sleeping For Good’ strategy is built around a ‘prevention first’ approach, including bringing forward investment so that nobody leaves a public institution – such as a prison, hospital or care – for the streets. Investment includes over £547 million for the Rough Sleeping Initiative which enables local authorities to provide tailored support, the £200 million Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme to provide long-term homes to people with complex needs with a history of rough sleeping, and more than 6,000 move-on homes through the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme.
The Government put forward the repeal of the Vagrancy Act, but it was clear police forces and local agencies still needed powers to respond to instances of nuisance begging and rough sleeping that place individuals involved at risk or make the public feel unsafe.
There is no need for anyone to be sleeping rough. Councils are funded to provide homelessness prevention support, including by the purchase of temporary accomodation, between April 2022 and March 2023 spending £1.7 billion.
I hope this shows the government’s desire to keep people in suitable accomodation and sleeping in households.