0519 GMT January 26, 2020
James Brokenshire called the plan ‘radical’, and added that with the backing of almost £38 million of funding from the government’s £1.2-billion strategy to address rough sleeping, it could make a ‘real difference’ to vulnerable people in the capital, theguardian.com reported.
The new scheme aims to end the current competition between areas for the best accommodation, and will instead encourage local authorities to join forces in boosting accommodation and tackling homelessness across the whole city.
A total of 11 out of 32 London boroughs have signed up to the scheme so far — including Tower Hamlets, Croydon and Ealing — but it is hoped more will join.
The Capital Letters program is expected to help more than 35,000 households within Greater London out of homelessness over the next three years.
The announcement of the scheme comes less than a fortnight after a homeless man died after collapsing outside the Westminster Underground station opposite the Houses of Parliament.
Brokenshire said, “This radical new way of working and unprecedented collaboration between the boroughs and government will make a real difference — providing more accommodation for the vulnerable and helping them to get back on their feet and away from homelessness for good.”
Darren Rodwell, London Councils’ executive member for housing and planning, said, “With so many homeless households and so little accommodation available, London faces the country’s most serious homelessness challenge.
“Through collaboration, boroughs will collectively strengthen our market position and secure much better housing options for homeless Londoners.”
Greg Beales, the campaign director at housing charity Shelter, said, “While we welcome efforts to help the many families who are on the verge of homelessness now, the government must also address the deep problems in the system that are leading to this housing emergency.
“Too many families are stranded in unstable private renting, battling to keep a roof over their heads against a tide of rising rents and benefit cuts.
“For struggling families in London and across the country, we desperately need to build many more social homes. That’s why Shelter has set up its own cross-party commission that will soon set out a bold new vision for social housing.”