More than £1 million has been awarded to BCP Council to support people who are rough sleeping or at risk of being on the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
£140,000 has been awarded from the Government’s Cold Weather Fund to boost the ongoing work to provide emergency accommodation and support for those sleeping rough over the winter period.
A successful bid of £436,000 has also been awarded to fund enhanced health, social care and supported housing services to specifically help Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people who are rough sleeping and who are at most risk. This includes securing additional suitable accommodation.
Most recently, a further £494,000 will support those people who have been sleeping rough and are in emergency accommodation who require intensive help with drug and alcohol dependency. This funding will provide a boost in offering support for mental health and substance misuse.
Councillor Robert Lawton, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “We welcome this extra funding which will be essential in protecting the most vulnerable during the pandemic. Following the latest lockdown, the Government has urged local authorities to redouble its efforts to accommodate people sleeping rough and encourage them to register with a GP so that they can receive a COVID vaccine in line with the priority groups. For us, our work to support people off the streets and into emergency accommodation has never stopped since the first lockdown in March 2020. We will continue to offer support and accommodation to anyone who is sleeping rough in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
“People who are on the streets or at risk of ending up on the streets are extremely vulnerable and often have complex needs that require intensive support but with the help of the additional funding, we can put in place targeted wraparound support which will give them the best chances to make a positive move to more longer-term accommodation and a better quality of life.”
Reacting to the additional funding, St Mungo’s Andrew Teale, Outreach Manager in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, said: “We and other homelessness charities urged the Government to provide a crucial and decisive response to support people sleeping rough who now face the double threat of severely cold weather and a continued health emergency.
“We welcome this response and will work with BCP Council and our health partners to provide both the immediate accommodation and the health care advice that is needed to protect lives.”
More than 370 people who were rough sleeping or who were at risk of rough sleeping on the streets across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole have been supported in to emergency accommodation since the first lockdown in March 2020.
The funding allocations have been the result of proactive bids made by BCP Council and its partners.