A new Government scheme designed to support vulnerable people facing homelessness and other challenges has been announced by rough sleeping and housing minister Kelly Tolhurst.
The £46 million Changing Futures fund will help people across England who have experienced rough sleeping, substance misuse, mental health issues, domestic abuse and contact with the criminal justice system.
Local organisations will be able to bid for funding and form partnerships to support the most vulnerable with “entrenched disadvantage from trauma”.
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Frontline organisations have long called for a more joined-up approach to supporting those facing multiple disadvantages and homelessness charity St Mungo’s described the scheme as “very welcome”.
Dominic Williamson, St Mungo’s executive director of strategy and policy, said people dealing with several problems had struggled to navigate services that report to different parts of government.
Williamson said: “Many of our clients experience several challenges on top of their homelessness and yet too often public services are designed to address one problem at a time.
“People with substance use issues, mental illness and homelessness particularly struggle to get effective help as the services they need report to different parts of central and local government.
“This very welcome initiative builds on work by the National Lottery’s Fulfilling Lives programme, the Making Every Adult Matter partnership, Revolving Doors Agency and others and will support the pilot areas to bring services together in ways that change lives for the better.”
“Many of our clients experience several challenges on top of their homelessness."
We welcome @mhclg's announcement of the new £46m 'Changing Futures' scheme, providing more coordinated help for vulnerable people.
— St Mungo's (@StMungos) December 10, 2020
Kelly Tolhurst, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, said the new programme would provide “more effective and coordinated support” for those that needed it.
“This £46 million funding will help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities turn their lives around and build a brighter future,” she said.
“The programme gives local organisations the flexibility and resources they need to work in partnership to deliver effective support where it is needed most.”
The scheme will see councils, health bodies, police, probation services, voluntary and community sector bodies form partnerships to deliver local change. The lessons learned from the initiative would then “inform” national policy, the Government said.
Williamson emphasised that a joined-up response to those dealing with several issues was often missing. He said the new scheme could help “unblock” some of the barriers to organisations working together.
He added: “Critically, the [Changing Futures] prospectus requires areas to bring senior local leaders from councils, police, NHS and other public services together to support the change at the frontline.
“This aspect has often been missing in previous efforts to make progress on this issue and will help unblock some of the barriers to joint working.
“Equally, the involvement of a wide range of Government departments at national level will provide the impetus for policy change which can underpin local efforts.”