I am writing as a constituent to ask that you raise with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government the importance of protecting the Homelessness Prevention Grant in the upcoming Spending Review.
This fund, worth £80 million annually, is used by local authorities across England to provide vital services like debt advice, mediation with landlords and help to find new accommodation, which have prevented hundreds of thousands of people from becoming homeless.
Though the money is not ring fenced, the fact that it is a named grant has helped focus funding on the crucial services it is intended for. Around 80% of all Housing Options and Homelessness services currently receive the full grant allocation and 90% say that money would get diverted elsewhere, and services damaged, if it were no longer a named grant.
Protecting the grant makes financial sense as well as being the right thing to do. While homelessness costs the government £1 billion annually, tackling it early could save between £3,000 and £18,000 for every person helped.
Since 2010, ministers have emphasised the crucial role the grant plays and protected it from cuts. Homelessness minister Marcus Jones recently told parliament its impact is “powerful” in stopping people from becoming homeless.
Even so, with deep spending cuts planned, this funding is at risk.
I would therefore be grateful if you could ask George Osborne and Greg Clark to:
1. Protect the Homelessness Prevention Grant until 2020 in the upcoming Spending Review
2. Allocate the grant according to levels of need in each local authority
3. Monitor how the grant is spent, to help make sure it is used effectively and for what it is intended
For further information on the Homelessness Prevention Grant, please see this briefing from Crisis: http://www.crisis.org.uk/data/files/publications/Homelessness%20Prevention%20grant%20briefing.pdf