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  • Make a Change Team

Central funding for rough sleeper support services

More than £500,000 has been allocated to Southend-on-Sea to fund services tackling the issue of rough sleeping.

Further funding of £513,738 has been issued by the Government for the Rough Sleeping Initiative fund for 2019/20. This is in addition to the £425,000 which the council successfully bid for from central government back in June 2018.

The money will be spent on a range of services run within Southend-on-Sea to help those who sleep on the streets. This includes;

  • £182,000 for six outreach workers, two for Peabody, two for HARP and two for STARS.

  • Funding for rough sleeping coordinator to work within Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

  • £230,000 to HARP to continue running the sit up service. The ‘sit-up’ service provides people who are found rough sleeping by outreach workers with a safe and immediate place to stay indoors overnight, ahead of them being connected to services the next day.

  • Funding for clinical health support.

  • £15,000 to help support the church winter night shelters; a partnership between SBC, HARP, faith groups and volunteers that not only offers people somewhere safe and warm to sleep for the night, but also provides them with a listening ear and HARP’s expertise to help them plan for longer term solutions.

Cllr Tony Cox, cabinet member for adults and housing, said: “No one should have to sleep without a roof over their head, so I’m really pleased the government has recognised the ongoing need to supply local authorities with additional funds to tackle the issue of people sleeping rough.

“The money will be spent improving on and extending schemes and services we have introduced over the past 12 months to help alleviate the issue. I think it’s important to note that the majority of the money will be spent on employing people to be on the streets speaking and engaging directly with those sleeping rough and helping them access the services and care they need.

“The success of these schemes was recognised in part by the validated figures of the rough sleeper count, which was held in November 2018 before the church night shelters opened. As a local authority, nationally we had the biggest improvement in numbers from 72 in 2017, to 11 in 2018 and although it only provides a one-night snapshot of the situation, it shows the work we have been doing is having an impact.”

The council are a commissioner of local services such as HARP who provides day and night shelter facilities, and Peabody’s assertive outreach team which engages directly with rough sleepers on the street. If you see someone rough sleeping locally, then in all likelihood we will already know about them, have been to speak to them and attempted to connect them to our own local services or back to the service available where they have a local connection and may be able to receive statutory help.

We also continue to be a key partner and funder of the Church Winter Night Shelter programme every year, which is directly responsible for people moving into accommodation and being linked with support, and having somewhere warm to sleep in the winter months.

In addition to this, our Housing Solutions Team operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to prevent homelessness in the first place, assisting hundreds of people and families every year who are either homeless, or threatened with homelessness. We liaise with landlords, mediate with family members, provide over 110 temporary accommodation bed spaces, assist people in to supported housing, source properties and provide loans to help people move in to settled accommodation.

To find out more about the rough sleeper count, why it takes place, the methodology, and what the figure gets used for, read our blog or visit:

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