THE Government has offered £26 million to provide specialist support to help vulnerable people sleeping rough to escape life on the streets.
Councils will be able to bid for a share of the money to fund “innovative” local schemes, according to the announcement by housing minister, Heather Wheeler MP.
The kind of schemes the Government has in mind are those that help rough sleepers struggling with mental health problems or substance misuse into a home as a priority and provide tailored support to help them remain housed.
“No one should ever have to face a night on the streets, and steps are being taken to ensure people are never faced with this as their only option,” said Wheeler.
“These are vulnerable people who need specialist support to get back on their feet and turn their lives around.
“[This funding] will ensure those sleeping on the streets across the country have access to the professional help and guidance they need to start their recovery – taking us one step closer to our ambition to end rough sleeping for good.”
According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, councils will use the funding to:
- Create teams of ‘Navigators’ – these are specialist support workers who will work as a single point of contact to help people off the streets and into recovery by directing them to the services they need. These could be mental health support, substance misuse counselling and housing advice services
- Establish dedicated lettings agencies for rough sleepers – specialist agencies which provide homes and advice for those sleeping on the streets, supporting them into affordable and stable accommodation
- Set up specialist rough sleeping Somewhere Safe to Stay ‘hubs’ – new hubs which will ensure those on the streets have access to professional help and guidance to start their recovery, including immediate shelter and tailored mental health support
- Introduce Supported Lettings schemes – helping vulnerable people sleeping rough to sustain tenancies – properties that they may not otherwise be able to access