A £400,000 grant has been secured to offer more help to rough sleepers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
Councils and organisations in the area have secured the Government funding which will be used to provide extra bed spaces for rough sleepers and additional outreach services to help people stay off the streets and move into more permanent accommodation.
The funding will also increase support to people who are leaving hospital or prison and are likely to end up sleeping rough.
The bid was secured on behalf of the Leicestershire Housing Services Partnership which includes councils in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the voluntary sector and other agencies.
It was co-ordinated by Charnwood Borough Council and The Bridge (East Midlands) who welcomed the news.
Cllr Paul Mercer, Charnwood’s Deputy Lead Member with responsibility for Strategic and Private Sector Housing, said: “This funding gives a significant boost to the support we can offer rough sleepers.
“Not only does it mean we can offer extra bed spaces at night, but we will also be able help people find more long-term accommodation and put in place any other support they need so they can continue with their lives.
“No-one should have to sleep rough, but unfortunately it happens and councils, the voluntary sector and colleagues in other agencies are already working incredibly hard to help people get off the streets. This funding will help strengthen that good work.”
Peter Davey, Chief Officer of The Bridge (East Midlands), a registered charity which delivers housing related advice, support and assistance services to homeless and vulnerably housed people, said: “The Bridge and Charnwood Borough Council have a long standing and unique relationship. We work hard to address the needs of some of our most vulnerable clients, and rough sleepers are arguably the most socially excluded and vulnerable individuals within our communities.
“Once again we have demonstrated great leadership in co-ordinating the bid across the sub region and the funding will help us to strengthen our response to the complex needs of this cohort of individuals. I am absolutely delighted that we will be able to scale the work we have done locally to support clients and colleagues in the county and city.”
The partnership has secured £398,764 from the Department for Communities and Local Government Rough Sleeping Grant Funding which will be spent over two years.
The grant will:
• provide three bed spaces for rough sleepers as part of the No Second Night Out Leicestershire project run by Action Homeless. Two beds will be in Leicester to serve the city and one for the south of the county and then one at
Falcon Support Services in Loughborough
• fund a team of five homelessness transition officers who will be based at Leicester City Council and The Bridge. The officers will offer a rapid response service to rough sleepers and help them identify accommodation options and extra support needed for issues including drugs, alcohol, money management, employment, relationships and more
• increase support for prisons/hospitals to identify people who may be at risk of rough sleeping. The homelessness transition officers will work with the services to identify these people and put support in place to help them avoid having to sleep rough
It was estimated there were 250 individual rough sleepers in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland last year. Nationally and locally, the figure has risen in recent years. It is estimated the services may come into contact with 750 people in the next two years.
The Leicestershire Housing Services Partnership involves Charnwood Borough Council, The Bridge (East
Midlands) (lead), Action Homeless, Blaby District Council, CCG (Lead for Mental Health 7 Homelessness),
DLNR CRC, Falcon Support Services, Harborough District Council, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, HMP Leicester and Peterborough, Leicester City Council, leicestershire Constabulary, Leicestershire County Council, Melton Borough Council, North West Leicestershire District Council, Oadby & Wigston Borough Council, Rutland County Council and University Hospitals Leicester.