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Housing

James Brokenshire announces £30 million project to help rough sleepers

The money will be shared by 83 key areas

Housing secretary James Brokenshire has announced that his department is making an immediate £30 million available to help rough sleepers off streets and into temporary accommodation.

Councils in England with the highest number of rough sleepers will receive a share of the cash, with 83 areas being covered by the available funding, according to Brokenshire.

The money is expected to provide an additional 1,750 additional bed spaces for rough sleepers and 531 dedicated homelessness workers, as well as helping to improve the co-ordination of services available to those who need help.

Councils will be supported by the government’s new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team consisting of experts from the sector with a proven track record of successfully helping rough sleepers and preventing those at risk from becoming homeless.

Brokenshire said: “No one should ever have to sleep rough. I am determined that more people living on the streets and those at risk this coming winter get the help they need now.

“That’s why I am making £30 million available that will help councils boost the immediate support they are able to offer. Whether this pays for more beds or more outreach workers this will make a real difference now.”

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Howard Sinclair, chief executive of homeless charity St Mungo’s, said: “Given how dangerous it is to sleep rough, we are pleased that ministers have recognised that urgent action is needed to support people off the street and out of danger, as well as to prevent people ending up on the streets in the first place.

“While this money is a welcome first step, we hope that the government will provide sufficient funding alongside its forthcoming rough sleeping strategy to achieve the prime minister’s goal of halving rough sleeping in this parliament and ending it within 10 years.”

The announcement is the latest part of the government’s plan to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it altogether by 2027. Other initiatives have included introducing the Homelessness Reduction Act, which came into force in April 2018 and places new duties on councils to prevent and relieve homelessness.

Other initiatives have included the setting up of a cross-government homelessness and rough sleeping taskforce, which is putting together a new national strategy to be published in July, and the piloting of the Housing First approach, which last month saw Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands awarded around £28 million to fund fledgling projects aimed at supporting rough sleepers and helping them get into permanent housing.

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