A new project to help rough sleepers in Thanet has been officially launched.
RISE – Rough sleeper Intervention, Support and Empowerment – is a partnership between Porchlight, Thanet District Council, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and the Forward Trust. The project also involves the Thanet Winter Shelter, Salvation Army and Paramount Independent Property Services.
It has been created to address health and wellbeing as these can often be barriers for rough sleepers when they are trying to find and keep accommodation.
Thanet RISE is unique as its team is made up of four Porchlight workers working alongside a council officer and a dedicated substance misuse and mental health worker , all based at the council’s offices in Margate.
The aim of the scheme, which was launched on October 10 to coincide with World Homelessness Day, is for those in need to get support and help as quickly as possible, taking away the time spent making contact and referrals to other organisations. It also considers the way rough sleepers access support – which can often be too overwhelming if services are offered from different places.
The work involves the team carrying out early morning and late night outreach to identify people who are rough sleeping across Thanet. They then work with rough sleepers to develop a support plan that tackles any underlying reasons that would prevent them from finding accommodation. This can range from providing food and clothing, helping someone to complete applications, obtaining identification, supporting emotional and mental wellbeing, physical health, practical skills or support with any substance misuse.
Another part of the project, is a new scheme, owned and managed by Paramount Independent Property Services. This is a supported housing environment which offers a range of services so residents can secure their own tenancies. So far, five people have moved into this accommodation with another two due to move in.
The launch event was attended by David Johnson, rough sleeping advisor from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government.
Cllr Lesley Game, Cabinet Member for Housing at Thanet District Council, said: “Over recent years, we have seen how social and economic factors have had a critical effect on the housing and homeless situation across the UK, and Thanet is no different. We face many of these challenges in our community, so I am extremely encouraged that we have secured this funding until 2020. It will allow us to extend the work we already do in Thanet and support some of the most vulnerable people in the area.
“Together with the different organisations represented at the launch, we hope to address the issue of rough sleeping by working together. The Thanet RISE enables us to collectively work with, and empower, those who need our assistance the most.”
At the launch, Mr Johnson commented on how efficient Thanet has been in tackling its homelessness situation since initial contact was made in June. He also commended the council’s commitment to drive forward the project in a short space of time, and how it is already showing positive results.
Since the project started its work in August, the team has helped five people who were rough sleeping into supported accommodation, and a further eight people are now in accommodation.
Rough sleepers and government funding
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 team was established through this funding. The authority has been provisionally awarded £483,000 for 2019/20. The final allocation will be dependent on progress made in the delivery of the 2018 programmes and services.
|Year||Number of persons confirmed as sleeping rough in Thanet|
According to Thanet council leader Bob Bayford data from October 3 (2018) showed 40 people reported as sleeping rough in Thanet.
If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping you can notify streetlink at www.streetlink.org.uk
Call 24 hour free Porchlight phone helpline 0800 567 7699 or from a mobile on 0300 365 7699.
Wednesday 9.30am-12pm Margate Gateway
Tuesday 2pm-4pm GAP Baptist Church, Broadstairs
For more information on the project, how to donate or volunteer, visit: www.thanet.gov.uk/roughsleeping