There’s a lot from the recent Autumn Statement to be positive about; tackling homelessness has been fairly high-profile on this occasion. The Chancellor said:
“One person without a home is too many, and we want to identify solutions that look at all possible causes that lead to someone losing their home.”
A ban on fees for tenants in rented property has been announced as well as a further £10 million to be injected into the Rough Sleeping Fund for innovative projects over two years. Couple that with a £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund opening up sites for up to 100,000 homes and £1.4bn for 40,000 affordable homes – it’s a move in the right direction.
But more will need to be done to keep up with the problem – rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010 – as causes such as a growing and aging population and poverty continue to rise.
And while the National Living Wage increase from £7.20 to £7.50 and tax-free personal allowance will be almost double from where it was in 2010 (from £6,475 to £12,500) will go some way toward easing poverty – creating jobs for people who are looking for a route out of homelessness, or are at risk of becoming so will be a pivotal factor.
We think now is a crucial time for businesses of all sizes to play a role.
Social enterprises have demonstrated that it’s possible for businesses to think about recruitment in this way while remaining commercially competitive. We’ve played a small part and would encourage others’ to expand their ideas around recruiting too.
At the same time, we applaud Crisis’ response to the Autumn Statement – the Homelessness Reduction Bill which places more duty on councils to prevent homelessness – should be dealt with as a matter of urgency. It will allow for other initiatives to have the space to progress.