21 Sep 2022

Kerslake Commission report on homelessness and rough sleeping calls for urgent government intervention

A stark warning has been issued today (21 September 2022) by the Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping cautioning that the cost of living crisis could have a ‘catastrophic’ impact on homelessness if the new Prime Minister and her government do not treat it with the same level of urgency seen at the start of the pandemic.

‘A New Way of Working: Ending Rough Sleeping Together' - Progress Report September 2022 is the latest report from the Kerslake Commission. The report assesses the advancements to ending rough sleeping in England against the original recommendations made last September by the Commission and considers the impact of the current economic crisis.

The report notes that significant and welcome progress has been made since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. On every recommendation made in the previous report, the response has either stayed constant or changed positively. However, welfare is the only area seen to have taken a step backward. The devastating impact for people who face the very real prospect of losing their homes because they are struggling to manage is highlighted in the moving testimonials included in the report.

Recommendations in the progress report include:

  • Reintroducing a temporary ban on evictions, as seen during the pandemic, to ensure that no one is made homeless as a result of the cost of living crisis – mirroring what was announced in Scotland earlier this month
  • Increasing the benefit cap and bringing benefits in line with inflation immediately – not in April 2023 as planned
  • Raising local housing allowances so they are in line with the bottom 30% of the market

Responding to the report Gavin Smart, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) chief executive, said:

“CIH supports the recommendations in this latest report from the Kerslake Commission which align with our urgent calls to government over recent weeks and months. Whilst the plans to ‘cap’ average household energy bills at £2,500 a year from next month are welcome, they will not be enough to weather the storm ahead.

The cost of living crisis is being felt in every sector throughout the UK but without urgent government intervention, it will create an unprecedented housing crisis. The government has shown how it can respond when needed, providing extensive support during the Covid pandemic. We urge the Prime Minister and her ministers to consider this important and timely report and to introduce targeted measures as a matter of urgency to prevent more people becoming homeless this winter”

The calls for action mirror the housing sector's recent letter to the Prime Minister calling for urgent action on the cost of living crisis. Further information on how the cost of living crisis is impacting social housing can also be found in the CIH cost of living briefing series