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Central funding secured to help tackle rough sleeping

Published Thursday, 14th June 2018

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The Council has successfully bid for £425,000 of Government funding to help tackle rough sleeping across the Borough.

The funding is part of a £30m package announced by the Government last week for 83 areas across the country, to provide targeted, practical support between July and April 2019.

In Southend-on-Sea, the money will be used to fund a rough sleeping coordinator, more ‘assertive outreach’ workers to engage with people on the streets, rent/deposit loans and increased support for the Churches Winter Night Shelter; a partnership between SBC, HARP, faith groups and volunteers that not only offers people somewhere safe and warm to sleep for the night, but also provides them with a listening ear and HARP’s expertise to help them plan for longer term solutions.

It will also allow the council to develop its ‘housing first’ approach that has proved successful in the recently opened complex needs hostel. This will be extended to develop a tailored approach to assist some of our most long term rough sleepers into accommodation.

Funding will also help HARP day services to be extended to weekends and the creation of a ‘sit up’ accommodation service outside of business hours. ‘Sit-up’ accommodation provides people who are found rough sleeping by outreach workers with a safe and immediate place to stay indoors overnight, ahead of them being connected to services the next day.

Cllr Tony Cox, cabinet member for adults and housing, says: “I am very pleased that officers have worked with our many partners to help secure this Government funding.

“It is clear that homelessness is a national crisis, with increases being reported across the country and this funding being awarded to 83 areas across the UK.

“Locally, we are absolutely committed to continuing our ongoing work to address rough sleeping across the Borough and we will continue to work well beyond the statutory service we have to provide to do that with our partners.

“This funding will help us to encourage and support a number of new measures and initiatives that will help get rough sleepers off the streets for good.”

Councils will be supported by the government’s new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team consisting of experts from the sector with a proven track record of successfully helping rough sleepers and preventing those at risk from becoming homeless.

Next month government will publish its long-term Rough Sleeping Strategy that has been developed in partnership with charities and local government. It will set out a comprehensive plan to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it entirely by 2027 by ensuring those sleeping rough have appropriate routes away from the streets – and prevent them from sleeping rough in the first place.

Background:

The council are a commissioner of local services such as HARP who provides day and night shelter facilities, and the Family Mosaic’s assertive outreach team which engages directly with rough sleepers on the street. If you see someone rough sleeping locally, then in all likelihood we will already know about them, have been to speak to them and attempted to connect them to our own local services or back to the service available where they have a local connection and may be able to receive statutory help. 

We also continue to be a key partner and funder of the Church Winter Night Shelter programme every year, which is directly responsible for people moving into accommodation and being linked with support, and having somewhere warm to sleep in the winter months.

In June 2017, a pioneering hostel for rough sleepers with complex needs, providing accommodation for vulnerable homeless people who are unable to access any other form of housing, opened.

In addition to this, our Housing Solutions Team operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to prevent homelessness in the first place, assisting hundreds of people and families every year who are either homeless, or threatened with homelessness.  We liaise with landlords, mediate with family members, provide over 110 temporary accommodation bed spaces, assist people in to supported housing, source properties and provide loans to help people move in to settled accommodation.