We are very pleased to see today’s announcement by Grant Shapps and Boris Johnson of £5 million of additional funding to pay for improved outcomes for entrenched rough sleepers in London through a Social Impact Bond.
Rough sleepers are among the most vulnerable people in society. In the UK, the average age at death of people in hostels or registered with homelessness services is less than 45 years old. Most of those sleeping rough have one or more support needs involving alcohol, drugs or mental health. They are 35 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
London is estimated to account for more than half of all rough sleeping in England. While the majority spends only one night out, 40% returned to the streets for a least two nights.
Over the past few months, Social Finance and the Young Foundation have worked with the Greater London Authority and Department of Communities and Local Government to assess the feasibility of using Social Impact Bonds to improve outcomes for this group.
We concluded that payment by results contracts, backed by social investment, would offer a real opportunity for service providers to explore new ways of tailoring their services to meet the needs of rough sleepers in London. It is anticipated that the contracts will pay for reductions in rough sleeping and improvements in stable accommodation, employment and health.
Over the next few months, we look forward to supporting GLA to design and implement a procurement process that will get the best out of service providers and social investors to make life off the streets a reality for more of this group.
By Louise Savell, Director at Social Finance