Communities and Local Government CommitteeWritten submission from St Mungo’s

St Mungo’s is one of the leading providers of homelessness services across London and the South. Every night we provide 1,700 beds for people who are homeless or threatened by homelessness. Our clients typically experience significant and multiple disadvantages, for example:

56% have a substance use problem

49% have a mental health condition

46% are socially vulnerable

One in 10 have an ex-care or foster care background

47% have an offending history or have been in prison

29% do not have basic literacy skills.1

Community Budgets are currently primarily focussed at families with multiple problems. However, in the recent report “Vision to End Rough Sleeping”,2 Commitment 5 clearly states the Government’s intention to “develop a proposal for the use of community-based budgets for homeless adults with complex needs”.

Whilst the Committee’s inquiry is restricted to examining community budgets for families with multiple problems, St Mungo’s strongly believes that there is a role for community budgets to be extended to cover homeless people and we welcome the Government’s intention to explore these possibilities. As illustrated above, the clients we work with have a range of complex needs and often find it difficult to access the support they require. By pooling relevant budgets, local commissioners can work together to fund coordinated interventions, leading to better outcomes for the client as well as generating savings for the tax payer.

An example of where joint commissioning and pooling of budgets can work to secure positive outcomes for clients is at the St Mungo’s Single Homeless Enterprise Project (SHEP). SHEP, a skills and employment programme for homeless people, was initially led by the London Borough of Camden with support from the Department of Work and Pensions and funding from the Treasury/Cabinet Office Invest to Save Budget. The project has surpassed targets for helping homeless people into employment, and has helped many more to move closer to the labour market through overcoming the low self esteem, substance use and inactivity that were preventing them from getting their lives back on track. I have enclosed a recent briefing on SHEP that has more information about its outcomes.

We recommend that in the course of its inquiry, the Committee seriously consider exploring how Community Budgets could be extended to cover homeless people and other groups of vulnerable adults with complex needs.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further information on these points.

December 2011

1 St Mungo’s, 2011. Client Needs Survey.

2 Department for Communities and Local Government, 2011. Vision to end rough sleeping: No Second Night Out nationwide.

Prepared 24th February 2012