homeless person sleeps on street
According to Shelter, as of January 2023, at least 271,000 people have been recorded as homeless, which includes over 122,000 children. One in 208 people in the UK are homeless. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have announced a significant funding boost of £3.3 million to the Night Shelter Transformation Fund, allowing thousands of people sleeping rough to have easy access to support and safe, more comfortable accommodation. The Night Shelter Transformation Fund marks the next step in the government's commitment to put an end to rough sleeping.

Rick Henderson, the Chief Executive of Homeless Link, has commented: "the Night Shelter Transformation Fund is an incredibly important project enabling homeless organisations to transform the quality of off-the-street accommodation in their local communities".

Henderson continues: "being able to offer dignified accommodation makes a huge difference to our members' work to end rough sleeping and reduce the need for emergency shelters. We are extremely pleased to hear that the government is making additional funding available, ensuring that even more people will be able to benefit from this essential initiative".

The night shelters will be able to use the funding to provide more beds, enlisting the help of medical specialists to treat people struggling with drug and alcohol addictions and violence on the street, and assisting those with financial difficulties.

Last year, the Department for Levelling Up announced their three-year, £500 million Rough Sleeping Initiative, which offered funding for 14,000 beds for rough sleepers and 3,000 staff for support. This included an additional £1 billion given to local councils for them to help prevent rough sleeping in high-priority areas.

This government funding follows a previous cash injection of over £3 million, which helped to fund eighty similar organisations over a three-year span. The second round of funding is primarily to help with providing vulnerable people sleeping on the streets with the necessary tools they need to change their lives for the better.

Homeless man and his dog
Despite living in the world's sixth biggest economy, homelessness is still a looming crisis and prevalent issue in the United Kingdom. Your Say Our Future

Felicity Buchan, the Minister for Housing and Homelessness, says: "night shelters are often the first step for rough sleepers to get off the streets and turn their lives around, providing a safe place to sleep and access to support". Buchan continued: "I'm delighted to announce this £3 million boost to the fund which will be life-changing for rough sleepers up and down the country".

One of many shelters across the country for the homeless is the Gravesham Sanctuary in Gravesend, a registered charity that has served as the first point of contact for people facing homelessness since it opened in 2015.

Carol Webster from the Sanctuary says: "night shelters are an important first step for people experiencing homelessness. Our transformed shelter enables guests to stay a few weeks or months until their move into settled accommodation". Webster continued: "as a faith-based charity, our ethos is one of welcome and we build strong, non-judgemental relationships with guests from all walks of life. We are passionate about equipping people for a safer, more stable path".

CEO of Housing Justice, Kathy Mohan, commented: "this is a vital funding stream for the network faith and community groups across England. Projects like Gravesham Sanctuary not only provide material support by way of a place to sleep and casework support, but they also provide a crucial element of a person's journey out of homelessness: community".

After the COVID-19 pandemic, households are still facing a cost of living crisis, which is likely to cause a rapid rise in homelessness over the next few years.