Statement from Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Housing, Cllr Gina Needs, on Enfield Council’s calls for fair funding for homelessness provision.
During the COVID-19 pandemic Enfield Council has placed around 300 homeless people who were sleeping rough on our streets or who were at risk of rough sleeping, into emergency accommodation to protect them and communities.
We are providing help to these people, many who have complex needs, to enable them to turn their lives around, and we are working with our partners to make a real difference to their lives now and in the future.
Enfield Council has no intention of withdrawing support from the rough sleepers we housed during the COVID-19 outbreak.
We have developed a clear plan to provide long-term support for them because this is a once in a generation opportunity to ensure we can provide help for these people who previously may have not engaged with Enfield Council.
While our aim is to help everyone sleeping rough in our borough - and they all deserve our help. The brutal reality is that without further support from the Government, the amount of support we can offer will be limited.
Enfield Council’s finances have been stretched to breaking point over the last decade because of a mix of government funding reductions and increasing pressures on services and while the Government has announced a limited amount of new money for local authorities in this area we are waiting to see the details so we can work out how many people we will be able to support.
Our view is that people living on the street should be helped to get their lives back on track, Enfield Council believes that their immigration status is irrelevant and the Government should provide funding to cover the cost of helping these most vulnerable of people.
Not only is it the right, and compassionate thing, to do, but it makes economic sense as well, as the cost of dealing with the issues presented by long term rough sleeping are disproportionately high.
We have been presented with a golden opportunity to eradicate rough sleeping. Now, that Council’s have the vast majority of rough sleepers into safe spaces where they can be supported into stable accommodation.
There is also an opportunity for the government to relax one of the more egrarious policies in this field. We completely support the campaign to abolish the no recourse to public funds policy and would encourage the Government to behave humanely and act rapidly to help local authorities, such as Enfield Council to continue to offer support to rough sleepers.