Further central funding secured to tackle rough sleeping

Published Wednesday, 5th September 2018

Homeless Picture

We have successfully bid for £513,000 of Government funding to tackle rough sleeping in Southend, just four months after successfully bidding for £425,000 funding for the same issue.

In March, the Government set up a £30m fund for local authorities with rough sleepers, and the council successfully bid for £425,000 of this funding to provide targeted, practical support between July 2018 and April 2019.

Today, the Government has announced further funding nationally totalling £45m for 2019-20, and the council is delighted to announce that they have successfully bid for a further £513,000 for the town for this period – the highest allocation of any local authority in the East of England and the 12th highest nationally.

The funding in Southend will go towards a rough sleeper coordinator to oversee the local programme; further outreach officers who will work closely with local partners and engaging with people on the streets; personal budgets to provide goods to meet local needs; expansion of the current tenancy sustainment offer to ensure those in accommodation are better equipped to sustain their tenancies; and an increased rent-deposit offer for rough sleepers.

There will also be further enhancements to HARP services and funding to enhance the Church Winter Night Shelters.

Cllr Tony Cox, cabinet member for adults and housing, said: “No-one can be in any doubt that homelessness and rough sleeping are a real issue in Southend and we have a lot of work ahead of us to adequately address it and its causes.

“The funding we received earlier in the year has enabled us to start to enhance the services we currently provide in the town. The announcement today means we will be able to build upon these improvements between 2019 and 2020.”

“Nationally, homelessness is an upward trend, and we must ensure we focus this funding in the most effective way to ensure we are able to continuously support and prevent rough sleeping where possible.”

If you do have concerns for a rough-sleeper, we ask you first to report it via Streetlink.org. The details you provide are sent directly to the council and its outreach partners, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.

If the person needs urgent medical attention or you believe they are under 18 years of age please call 999.

Background

The council is a commissioner of local services, such as HARP who provides day and night shelter facilities, and the Peabody 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.