Jobcentres across the UK are to benefit from a boost of up to £3 million to support homeless people, Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said today.
The new funding will see jobcentre staff joining outreach teams on the streets to speak to people sleeping rough, helping them to claim their benefits, find new work, secure stable accommodation and direct them to additional support.
Staff will be able to spend more time working with charities and other organisations to help people who are homeless, including those rough sleeping.
The funding will also be used to bolster projects jobcentres are already working on with various organisations, such as the Salvation Army in Cardiff, and Teardrops in St Helens, to support homeless claimants.
Jobcentre staff could also be stationed in charity run day centres to advise those who use those services, but have not yet visited a jobcentre.
Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said:
We are determined to help anyone experiencing homelessness, and if this means getting staff out of the jobcentre to speak to people on the street directly then we will do that.
There’s a huge amount of support available to help people who are homeless, but they often don’t know about the support they can access. So we’re going out and taking the help to them, through outreach programmes and closer working with homelessness charities.
The work will build on the support already available from jobcentres for homeless people which includes:
• helping verify their ID to set up claims for benefits
• assisting with opening bank accounts
• pausing requirements to look for work while they find stable housing
• making regular payments to help pay for housing
• signposting to drug, alcohol and other support services
Minister for Homelessness, Luke Hall said:
As Minister for Homelessness, it’s my priority to ensure that we reduce all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping.
And while our interventions are working there is still more to do. Today’s announcement will mean homeless people get the support they need to get back on their feet and find new work.
The new funding, which will be delivered in 2020 to 2021, follows on from dedicated training given to hundreds of jobcentre managers last year on how best to support homeless claimants.
It builds on the government’s introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in 2018. This sees English local authorities, public services and charities working together to actively prevent homelessness for people at risk, irrespective of whether they are a family or single person, the reason why they have been put at risk or whether, or not, they have a local connection to the area.