In South West Bedfordshire, we are building 6,000 additional houses to the east of Leighton Buzzard and 8,000 additional houses to the north of Houghton Regis with a good proportion of these being for social rent through housing associations, so we are certainly doing our bit locally to end all homelessness.
I also recognise that every child and young person deserves a roof over their head and a safe place to call home. I completely agree with you about the significant cost of youth homelessness, both to individuals and society. I also recognise the important role charities such as Centrepoint play in drawing attention to the experiences of young people affected by homelessness.
I would like to assure you that I wholeheartedly share the desire of my ministerial colleagues to end rough sleeping once and for all. The Government’s Ending Rough Sleeping for Good strategy, which is backed by £2 billion, recognises the particular challenges facing young people experiencing homelessness. I was encouraged to see the strategy put prevention at its heart. The Government has committed over £650 million to councils in England through the Homelessness Prevention Grant to help them prevent homelessness, including youth homelessness.
Government support for housing-led solutions includes the £200 million Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme which aims to increase the supply of good quality specialist supported accommodation and housing-led approaches. I understand that the Government has encouraged local authorities to bid for youth-specific supported accommodation as part of this fund, which will help support young people at risk of homelessness. In addition, £2.4 million of the Rough Sleeping Initiative 2022-25 is dedicated to local youth services.
Since 2018-19, the Department for Education has provided funding to local authorities with the highest number of care leavers at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping. This funding continues to provide targeted support to young people leaving care most at risk of homelessness. I also understand that the Government provides bespoke support for local authorities through the Homelessness Advice and Support Team which helps to promote joint working across housing authorities and children’s services.
I hope this provides you with some assurance about the investment being made in prevention and support for young people facing homelessness. This is certainly something I will continue to champion in Parliament.