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The Albert Kennedy Trust says more focus is needed to prevent rough sleeping in the UK

Theresa May announced a new £100m government fund to help eradicate homelessness in the UK

2018-08-13

The Albert Kennedy Trust say to address rough sleeping, there must be a focus on “prevention and early action”.

Prime Minister Theresa May revealed today a £100m government fund to help eradicate rough sleeping within England after James Brokenshire, the communities secretary, said efforts to tackle homelessness had “not been good enough”.

He suggested that as many as 4, 751 people are sleeping rough on any given night within the country.

The new strategy – which launched today – will aim to help those with mental health problems and addictions, domestic abuse victims and those leaving prison.

However, it only said it would research the scale of LGBT+ homelessness, but the leading LGBT+ youth homelessness charity, The Albert Kennedy Trust, welcomed the announcement but insisted more needs to be done.

Tim Sigsworth MBE, the AKT Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the government’s announcement this morning of a £100m fund to help end rough sleeping in England.

“However, there are many other contributing factors, such as welfare benefits, employment, an affordable private rented sector and easily accessible mental health and other healthcare which need to also be addressed in tackling the issue of homelessness.

“At The Albert Kennedy Trust we know that one in four of young people at risk of homelessness in the UK identify as LGBTQ+.

“Those young people have a very particular set of circumstances to deal with, many having been made homeless because of family rejection, abuse and violence.  

“Once homeless, LGBT youth are more likely to experience targeted violence and discrimination, develop substance abuse problems, be exposed to sexual exploitation, and engage in higher levels of risky sexual behaviour, than their non-LGBT peers.

“Homeless LGBT young people are also less likely to seek help or support than non-LGBT homeless young people.

“When they do, a limited understanding of the experience of LGBT homeless youth and an assumption of heterosexuality by some service providers poses further risks of discrimination.

“AKT believes that in addressing rough sleeping we must also focus on prevention and early action focussed service delivery to prevent lifetimes of homelessness and its longer term impacts on individuals health and wellbeing and wider society.”

Up to £30m of the fund will go towards mental health treatment and will provide training for staff to help those under the influence of the synthetic cannabinoid spice.

Around £50m will be set aside to fund homes outside of London for people ready to move on from hostels and those seeking refuge from domestic abuse.