Thanet District Council has secured £367,322 in funding from central Government to support initiatives designed to help reduce rough sleeping in the district.
The successful outcome follows a bid made by the council’s award winning Housing team to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
The additional funds will be used to deliver a range of bespoke interventions for both new and entrenched rough sleepers – from facilitating emergency accommodation during severe weather, to providing priority housing for female rough sleepers.
The funding which is for 2018/19 will also go towards increasing the specialist provision on offer for local rough sleepers and enable the recruitment of three experienced outreach staff, at Porchlight, who will work directly with those currently living on the streets as well as support for them once in accommodation.
Two other key roles are a Mental Health worker and a Substance Misuse worker who will work in partnership with each other. They will deliver services to both new and entrenched rough sleepers, ensuring that where people have both mental health and substance misuse issues they are offered holistic and coordinated support.
In addition to an increased number support workers, the funding allows Thanet District Council to provide a more flexible and personalised response to individual rough sleepers which can help to support them as the move into accommodation. It will also offer a Housing First project, designed to give vulnerable rough sleepers temporary accommodation and support, as a step towards them finding a permanent place to live.
Thanet District Council already contributes to the running costs of emergency winter accommodation for local rough sleepers: the Thanet Winter Shelter. It is open for 90 days from 1 December to the end of February. This funding will provide an opportunity to extend its opening through to the end of March with the agreement of church partners. It will also ensure an additional provision of 15 bedspaces in accommodation from mid October until the end of November, during the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) period where very low temperatures place rough sleepers at risk.
Cllr Lesley Game, Cabinet member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods at Thanet District Council said:
“This announcement is fantastic news for Thanet. We still have a number of people sleeping rough in Thanet and our aim is to ensure that they are all given the help, support and access to services that they need. The funding that has been secured will make an enormous difference to the level of service officers will be able to provide for some of the district’s most vulnerable residents.”