I would like to pay tribute to the excellent work that St Mungo's do and the importance of their campaigns in highlighting the issues around homelessness.
In the 2010-2015 Parliament, significant progress was made in tackling homelessness across the country. £500 million was provided to councils and charities to deal with homelessness and help the most vulnerable in society get their life back on track. This helped to prevent over one million people from becoming homeless.
In December last year, the Prime Minister and Communities Secretary announced the areas set to benefit from new homelessness prevention funding. This consists of £20 million for Homelessness Prevention Trailblazers to pilot new initiatives; £20 million in rough sleeping grants, to provide targeted support for those at imminent risk of sleeping rough or those new to the streets; and £10 million in locally commissioned Social Impact Bonds, to help long-term rough sleepers with the most complex needs.
It is important to recognise that sleeping rough is rarely the result of a housing crisis alone, and I appreciate that many rough sleepers and homeless people have complex needs, such as mental health difficulties. That is why I am encouraged that the Department of Health is providing £40 million for the Homeless Change and Platform for Life programmes. This will help address mental health issues by providing decent accommodation and health support for homeless people, and highlights the importance of services coming together to help those on the street with complex needs.
The Government has also encouraged local areas to develop and improve hospital discharge arrangements for people who are homeless through the £10 million Homeless Hospital Discharge Fund, including by more effective multi-agency working. In addition, £1 billion a year has been put in place to help alleviate mental health problems more generally.
As you may be aware, my colleague, Bob Blackman, had Private Members' Bill successfully pass through Parliament with government support. The Homelessness Reduction Act will place a new duty on councils to support those who are homeless and will provide significant support to those who are about to or have already been made homeless.. Councils will be required to help those threatened with homelessness or who are already homeless find a home. I am encouraged that the Government will provide councils with £61 million to help them deliver the new duties in the legislation.
This is in addition to central funding to tackle homelessness being increased to £149 million over the next four years, and homelessness prevention funding for local authorities being protected at £315 million by 2019-20. The Government is also providing £100 million for at least 2,000 low cost accommodation places, for rough sleepers leaving hostel accommodation and domestic abuse victims and their families moving on from refuges.