Council secures £330,000 to help rough sleepers

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A government cash injection of £330,000 to help rough sleepers off of the streets and into accommodation has been welcomed by Canterbury City Council.

The announcement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) yesterday (Wednesday 5 September) applies to the 2019/2020 financial year and follows hot on the heels of £220,000 awarded in June of this year for 2018/19.

The money, part of a £30 million pot, will be used to continue to fund a frontline rough sleeper co-ordinator to work on the streets with homeless charities Catching Lives and Porchlight to create individual support plans for each rough sleeper they come into contact with.

These plans are designed to tackle each rough sleeper’s personal needs, encouraging them into housing and helping them into education or employment, as well as providing support on other problems such as drug or alcohol addiction.

The money will be used to extend the winter shelter run by Catching Lives to provide bed spaces between the start of October and the end of March and an expansion of the council’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol which kicks during the extreme cold.

During SWEP activations, the council and its partners can work even more intensively with rough sleepers to try and put in place measures to prevent them returning to the streets.

This round of cash will also help the council to assist rough sleepers with accessing GP and dental services which they find difficult.

Chairman of the council’s Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “The government has recognised this money will help us, Catching Lives and Porchlight to make a real and measurable difference to the lives of rough sleepers.

“Receiving the money over two years helps us all to make sure the services we deliver are highly effective because we have the time and space to engage with rough sleepers in a meaningful way which builds trust.

“Canterbury City Council has been chosen to receive this funding because of the hard work and determination of officers, Catching Lives and Porchlight alongside the close relationship they have built with civil servants at the MHCLG.”

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