An additional £483,770 could be awarded to Thanet council for work to help rough sleepers.
In June the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, announced Thanet had been awarded a £367,322 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.
The funds were to be used to deliver a range of bespoke interventions for both new and entrenched rough sleepers – from emergency accommodation during severe weather to providing priority housing for female rough sleepers.
Now the authority has been provisionally awarded the second, larger amount for 2019/20. The final allocation will be dependent on progress made in the delivery of the 2018 programmes and services.
How the money is being spent
Thanet council received the first payment at the end of July and has used it to establish a multi-agency team, working together to help rough sleepers in the area. A dedicated coordinator, substance misuse worker and mental health worker are now working alongside three additional Porchlight workers.
So far the team has worked with 20 people to either prevent or relieve rough sleeping; carried out seven detailed needs assessments, with a further five scheduled and placed six people in temporary accommodation while long-term solutions are worked on.
A new seven bedroom unit of supported accommodation has also been launched. The site has a dedicated manager and support worker and aims to work intensively with people who were previously rough sleeping by helping them to move on into permanent housing. To date, four people have already moved into permanent housing and are working closely with agencies for continued support.
The funding has also provided an additional 600 nights of temporary accommodation placements, to give respite to rough sleepers when needed.
The 2019/20 funding will be used to continue with the scheme.
Cllr Lesley Game, Cabinet member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods at Thanet District Council said: “The issue of rough sleeping is a complex one and it is vital that these vulnerable residents are given the widest possible range of support. The work we are doing to assist the people who are sleeping rough in Thanet has already begun and is clearly making a really big difference. The fact that we potentially have the funds to continue that work for another year is fantastic news.”
Following a recent visit the MHCLG wrote to Thanet District Council to say how impressed they were with the progress that the council had made this year in tackling homelessness, including currently having no families with children placed in temporary hotel accommodation.
Thanet District Council funding also means the annual Winter Shelter scheme will now be extended to run from November into March – an additional two months on previous years.
There are currently 2,542 households on the social housing register. Some 61 households are currently being provided temporary accommodation outside of Thanet.