Thanet will receive £367,322 from central government to help rough sleepers.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, announced Thanet’s share of the cash from a total fund of £30m to support those sleeping rough and those at risk in 83 local authorities with the highest need.
Over the last few months, a government team of experts have been working closely with local authorities to identify service gaps and create tailored packages to tackle rough sleeping in their area this year. Together they have co-produced bespoke plans to tackle rough sleeping based on local government and the third sector knowledge of what works.
The funding will provide more than 500 new staff in England focused on rough sleeping. This will include more outreach workers to engage with people on the streets, specialist mental health and substance misuse workers as well as dedicated co-ordinators to drive efforts to reduce rough sleeping in their areas. It will also provide over 1700 new bedspaces including both emergency and settled accommodation.
The new Rough Sleeping Initiative team will work closely with groups in Thanet which already provide services for people who are homeless.
Thanet Winter Shelter scheme, run by Thanet District Council and the Salvation Army, supported 35 vulnerable guests in its second year.
The shelter involved seven church halls in Margate and Ramsgate opening their doors from 1 December 2017 to 5 March 2018.
As well as providing a bed, clothes and food, a key aim of the Shelter is to better equip guests to help them secure and retain longer-term accommodation and to provide practical pathways for training and employment. Unique to Thanet’s Winter Shelter is engaging with Kent’s Mental Health practitioners to ensure guests are referred to the most appropriate primary care/charity sector services for their needs.
Homelessness figures for Thanet show a rise of 94% of those sleeping rough in 2016 and 39% in 2017 with the last rough sleeper count recording 46 people on the street. Research by Shelter also revealed Thanet as in the top ten areas with the highest number of female rough sleepers. Eleven women were recorded as sleeping on the street in Thanet last year.
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Future funding will be available for the new scheme in 2019/20.
A cross-Government strategy, to be published in July, which will set out how the Government intends to meet the manifesto commitment of halving rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminating it altogether by 2027.
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said: “Just one person without a roof over their head in Thanet is one too many, and it is vitally important that the most vulnerable people in society, including homeless people and rough sleepers, are helped to get their lives back on track.
“That’s why I welcome the over £367k of government funding for a Rough Sleeping Initiative in Thanet which will build upon the work we have already undertaken in order to meet the commitments we made at the last General Election.
“This is very much ‘work-in-progress’ and I look forward to the publication next month of the cross-Government strategy to eliminate rough sleeping in its entirety by 2027.”
Jeremy Swain, currently Chief Executive of the homelessness charity Thames Reach, will be leading the Rough Sleeping Initiative. He will be in post by early July.
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