The Communities Secretary has today unveiled the Rough Sleeping Delivery Plan – the Government’s detailed plans on how to tackle street homelessness. This Plan has been launched in an effort to meet a Governmental target of ending rough sleeping for good by 2027.

The Plan will see a new £11 million fund opened for councils across the country to support local people into safe accommodation, and arrives on the back of the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative to create a further 1,750 new beds and 500 additional outreach workers.

The new plans also set out some ambitious targets and deadlines to tackle rough sleeping, including:

  • New Work Coaches for every single Jobcentre Plus by summer 2019.

  • An expectation placed on all councils to publish detailed rough sleeping and homeless strategies by winter 2019 – setting out how councils plan to provide specialist support and accommodation for vulnerable people on the street. Government will take action where councils fail to do so.

The plans also make specific mention of LGBT people, stating an objective to:

  • Carry out a comprehensive government study into the links between homelessness and the LGBT community – making sure the right support services are in place to help LGBT homeless people off the streets and into stable accommodation. The study will be published in summer 2019.

The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), the UK’s LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, has broadly welcomed the plans. Tim Sigsworth MBE, Chief Executive of AKT said:

We welcome the recognition of and focus on LGBTQ+ people facing homelessness in the Government’s new Rough Sleeping Delivery Plan. Back in 2015, AKT’s ground-breaking national scoping of LGBT youth homelessness showed that up to 24% of young people at risk of homelessness identify as LGBTQ+.

He continued:

Young LGBTQ+ people are uniquely at risk of homelessness and are often more vulnerable than their cisgender straight peers. Our national scoping has shown that 77% of young LGBTQ+ people who have faced homelessness say that this was the result of family rejection or abuse. Sadly, mainstream housing support providers often don’t recognise or address issues around sexuality or gender identity when supporting young LGBTQ+ people.

Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:

“No-one is predestined to spend their lives sleeping on the streets. Yet, despite this, too many people still sleep rough on any given night. That is why we are taking action to provide support to help get people off the street this winter. And while we are already seeing progress, I am clear we must go further than ever to achieve our ambition of a country in which no-one needs to sleep rough.”

The Albert Kennedy Trust hopes that the work carried out as part of these new Government plans will support the charity’s call for mandatory monitoring of sexual orientation and gender identity by mainstream providers. AKT believes this move would ensure LGBT people do not remain invisible when homeless services providers support to young LGBTQ+ people. AKT also reiterated its call to prioritise focus on prevention, and early action work to prevent lifetimes of homelessness.

Tim Sigsworth MBE:

Preventing homelessness relies on a holistic approach beyond simply providing safe homes; with a need to address the employment, welfare and health issues which can exacerbate a young LGBTQ+ person’s situation.

You can find out more about the Government’s plans here.

Find out more about The Albert Kennedy Trust’s work with vulnerable young LGBTQ+ people, and how you can support their new winter appeal, Out Of The Cold, by visiting www.akt.org.uk/outofthecold