Worcestershire to receive £390k to help prevent rough sleeping

The county of Worcestershire is to receive over £390,000 in central government funding to help those new to the streets, or at imminent risk of sleeping rough.
Worcester City Council has joined forces with other councils in Worcestershire and local organisations including West Mercia Police, CCP and Maggs Day Centre to successfully apply for £390,258.55 in funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The money will prevent an estimated 200 people from becoming entrenched rough sleepers over the next two years, by giving them access to a wide range of support to help turn their lives around.
This will include mental health support, help to overcome substance misuse and development of the skills individuals need to remain in rented or social housing accommodation.
The grant will pay for seven dedicated staff to run a county-wide No First Night Out Taskforce, bringing together expertise and experience in tackling rough sleepers’ needs across local authority, Police, Paramedics, local NHS Trusts and voluntary partners. 
“Our primary aim in Worcestershire is to step in and provide support at an early stage, to minimise the risk of local people losing the roof over their head in the first place,” explains Nina Warrington, Head of Strategic Housing at Worcester City Council. 
“This funding will make a significant difference to the level of support we can offer, helping more people to turn their back on rough sleeping for good.”
One of the Taskforce’s main priorities will be to work closely with private and social landlords to help identify people who are struggling to maintain their tenancy, either for financial or other reasons. Tenants will then be offered advice and support to help address their issues, increasing the chances of them being able to stay in accommodation.
More innovative accommodation will also be made available for people aged 35 and under, who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is expected to make the funding available from March 2017.

Sarah Dawes