Criminal Justice Bill and Homelessness

Thank you for contacting me about the Criminal Justice Bill and Homelessnes.

I was on the Criminal Justice Bill Committee and have been monitoring the progress of this amendment very closely. I understand that the remaining amendments will be discussed at the report stage in the Chamber. The topic is very contentious and I have the same concerns as you do. I have visited Trinity House in Winchester and regularly talk to those who sell Big Issue so I have an understanding why people are homeless, many of which are invisibly homeless.

Therefore I support the Amendment NC11 tabled by Bob Blackman which would require the Government to issue clear guidance on the use of powers relating to anti-social behaviour under this Act and the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and therefore prevent the criminalisation of rough sleeping. I am also supportive of Bob Blackman other amendments 15-27 which would see the clauses on “Nuisance rough sleeping” removed all together.

I was also on the Bill committee in 2016 which helped get the Homelessness Reduction Act into law and I know well what the pressures are on people which lead to them becoming homeless or ending up sleeping rough. Housing issues make up a fair proportion of my incoming emails, although as it is our local councils who are responsible for housing and homelessness in individual

There is a firm commitment across government to end rough sleeping once and for all, backed by £2 billion worth of investment over three years. The Government’s ‘Ending Rough Sleeping For Good’ strategy is built around a ‘prevention first’ approach, including bringing forward investment so that nobody leaves a public institution – such as a prison, hospital or care – for the streets. Investment includes over £547 million for the Rough Sleeping Initiative which enables local authorities to provide tailored support, the £200 million Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme to provide long-term homes to people with complex needs with a history of rough sleeping, and more than 6,000 move-on homes through the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme. 

I will update you once I know more about when and how the amendment will be debated.