Thanet District Council has been allocated an additional £483,770 in provisional funding from central Government under its Rough Sleeping Initiative.
The provisional allocation is for 2019/20 and follows an earlier successful bid for funding which saw the district receive £376k for a range of initiatives aimed at rough sleeping reduction for 2018/19. The final allocation will be dependent on progress made in the delivery of the 2018 programmes and services.
The funding received to date is being used to deliver support for both new and entrenched rough sleepers, with a particular focus on delivering tangible support which is also tailored to each individual. This means tackling the many reasons people struggle to find and then stay in accommodation.
Funding was received at the end of July and since then TDC has established a multi-agency team, working together to help rough sleepers in the area. A dedicated coordinator, substance misuse worker and mental health worker are now working alongside three additional Porchlight workers.
Since July, the team has already:
- Worked with 20 people to either prevent or relieve rough sleeping so far
- Carried out seven detailed needs assessments, with a further five scheduled
- Placed six people in temporary accommodation – who are now working alongside the team and being helped to find longer term accommodation solutions
In addition, more accommodation has been made available as part of the funding, and a new seven bedroom unit of supported accommodation has been launched. This specific scheme has a dedicated manager and support worker and aims to work intensively with people who were previously rough sleeping by helping them to move on into permanent housing. To date, four people have already moved into permanent housing, and are working closely with agencies for continued support.
The 2019/20 funding will be used to continue these initiatives and enable more sustainable longer term support to be delivered to help the most entrenched rough sleepers in the district.
Cllr Lesley Game, Cabinet member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods at Thanet District Council said: “The issue of rough sleeping is a complex one and it is vital that these vulnerable residents are given the widest possible range of support. The work we are doing to assist the people who are sleeping rough in Thanet has already begun and is clearly making a really big difference. The fact that we potentially have the funds to continue that work for another year is fantastic news.”
Following a recent visit the MHCLG wrote to Thanet District Council to say how impressed they were with the progress that the council had made this year in tackling homelessness locally. They were particularly impressed with the fact that the council now has no families with children placed in temporary hotel accommodation.
Background on work to date
Thanet District Council has already begun increasing the specialist provision on offer for local rough sleepers and it has enabled the recruitment of three additional Porchlight workers who will work directly with those currently living on the streets as well as support for them once in accommodation.
A Mental Health worker and a Substance Misuse worker have been seconded to the project full time and are now working in partnership with each other to help both new and entrenched rough sleepers. This ensures that where people have both mental health and substance misuse issues, holistic and coordinated support is offered quickly and can be tailored to the person’s needs.
In addition to an increased number of support workers, Thanet District Council is providing a more flexible and personalised response to individual rough sleepers which can help to support them as the move into accommodation. It also offers a Housing First project, designed to give vulnerable rough sleepers supported accommodation, 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. This funding will allow this to be provided for a longer period, covering November and March.
The funding has also provided an additional 600 nights of temporary accommodation placements, to give respite to rough sleepers when needed.