Despite a 10% increase in the number of homeless people in 2012, the sector for homeless services shrank over the year.
Research by the homelessness umbrella body shows that funding cuts are having a big impact on homelessness services.
Despite homelessness increasing by 10% in 2012, five out of ten homelessness projects had funding cuts by an average of 17% with most funding for homelessness services being from local authorities.
Findings of Survey of Needs and Provision show that by November 2012, 58 projects had been forced to close and 1,811 bed spaces were lost.
Overall, the results show that the sector is much less able to help homeless people due to funding cuts, and there has been a 16% reduction in full time staff since 2010.
There has also been a decrease in the number of services offering targeted support to help clients with the most complex problems, and an increasing number of services do not feel equipped to help individuals who require the highest level of support due to the multiple issues they face.
This is compounded by reductions in funding, and four out of ten projects that have had their funding reduced have reported having to offer restricted support to clients with high or complex needs.
22% of those who have had funding reductions said it had affected their ability to move clients into long-term accommodation, while 18% said it had impacted on getting clients into employment.
More than half believe that cuts are resulting in increased rough sleeping (65%) and anti-social behaviour (56%) showing that the cuts happening now are likely to have long term effects.
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:
The cumulative impact of cuts is putting this vital work at risk. There are fewer specialist services and full-time professionals with the expertise to help.
Homeless charities are the final safety net for those with the most complex problems. If cuts continue to reduce the capacity of the sector, where else will these individuals turn?
The message to funders is clear. Protect critical services and you’ll help to prevent the harm homelessness causes to individuals and communities.