With Rough Sleeping Taskforce chief Dame Louise Casey yesterday reaffirming the Government’s commitment to prevent rough sleepers from returning to the streets post-lockdown, the movement to find “safe long-term” accommodation has begun.
The Government has pledged £433 million to make 6,000 housing units available with 3,300 to be on-hand within 12 months.
But it will also take a huge effort from the housing and homelessness sectors as well as the wider community to end rough sleeping for good. That’s why Housing First projects like the one that Action Homeless is soon to launch in Leicester are vital to continuing the work started by the Everybody In scheme.
The Midlands charity has received a £310,000 grant from The Henry Smith Charity to fund their efforts to get 18 people who were sleeping rough on the streets of Leicester into permanent accommodation where they will be supported with individualised, flexible support.
The project will initially be funded for four years with Action Homeless – who hit the headlines around the world in 2017 when they trialled the first vending machine for homeless people – able to tap into knowledge and expertise from other cities that have launched similar projects through the European End street Homelessness Campaign.
The Big Issue magazine is a social enterprise, a business that reinvests its profits in helping others who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, or whose lives are blighted by poverty.
Mark Grant, CEO of Action Homeless, said: “We have been given a unique opportunity to offer intensive support to people who have been homeless on the streets of Leicester for a long time. It is an aim of Action Homeless to end rough sleeping in the city and this funding will allow us take great strides towards that goal.”
World Habitat’s European End Street Homelessness Campaign was instrumental in setting up Leicester’s first Homelessness Charter and also played a role in bring Housing First to Torbay as well as working in Valencia, Barcelona and Brussels among other places across the continent.
Patrick Duce, programme lead for Homelessness at World Habitat, said: “Action Homeless are a key partner both locally in the Leicester Homelessness Charter and internationally, as a member of the European End Street Homelessness Campaign. This grant will play a vital role in helping to provide permanent housing solutions for some of the most vulnerable people experiencing street homelessness in Leicester.
“We look forward to supporting Action Homeless to share their experiences and learn from other European cities who already deliver successful Housing First programmes.”
The Henry Smith Charity is a large independent grant making trust, which distributes over £30 million of grants each year with the aim of reducing social and economic inequality. Under their Improving Lives programme, the Henry Smith Charity funds a range of services working with people who have experienced homelessness, including the Housing First Programme.