Government releases £25m to tackle rough sleeping

Homeless person sleeping in tent on city street

One of Britain’s busiest announcers has made another announcement: housing minister James Brokenshire has declared that £25 million will be made available to assist rough sleepers.

The cash will be spread over 108 English councils and will be used to ‘fund innovative local schemes aimed at supporting people off the streets and into stable accommodation where they can receive the tailored care they need’.

These ‘local schemes’ will include

  • 20 new ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay’ rough sleeping centres – where people on the streets can access professional help and guidance, including immediate shelter and mental health support
  • Over 130 navigator posts – specialist support workers who direct people to the services they need, such as counselling, housing advice, mental health support or substance misuse services
  • 61 supported lettings schemes – helping people to secure tenancies in properties that they may not otherwise be able to access
  • 30 dedicated local letting agencies – specialist agencies that support vulnerable people into affordable and stable accommodation

The government says the 20 new rough sleeping centres will build on the 11 announced in December last year, which, the government boasts, exceeds ‘the commitment made in the Strategy’.

Brokenshire MP said: ‘We are taking steps to ensure people never have to face even one night on the streets.

‘These are vulnerable people, who may be dealing with complex mental health problems or addictions and require specialist support to tackle these issues and turn their lives around.

‘The funding confirmed today will ensure those sleeping on the streets have access to the professional help and guidance they need to get back on their feet – taking us one step closer to ending rough sleeping for good.’

And here, supplied by the government, is a case study:

In Gloucester, a Somewhere Safe to Stay hub opened earlier this year. In February, a man was referred to the hub and was confused, exhausted and suffering from memory loss. During his time at the hub, he was able to recuperate and was accompanied by a navigator to the health and homelessness team for assessment. His treatment helped him to remember details about his family and he was supported to reach out and reconnect with his family. He has since moved back to London to live with his relatives.

Elsewhere, Cornwall council will receive funding this year to trial a ‘roving hub’ across the county. This will allow services to rotate around three locations and engage with more rough sleepers, or people at risk. People will receive specialist, personalised support at the hub locations, linking them up with health and housing services so that, with the support they need, they can move on into settled and sustainable accommodation.

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