Funding of more than £1.4M has been awarded to BCP Council in a bid to further enhance the work taking place to support those who are rough sleeping to move off the street and receive the help they need.
This latest round of funding comes as part of Government’s £100m strategy to end rough sleeping for good and will further boost the additional work that is taking place to help people who are living on the streets in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.
The funding aims to support actions and interventions expected to have the greatest and the quickest impact on rough sleeping numbers.
Since summer 2018, the former Bournemouth Borough Council and now, BCP Council has received almost £3M which has paid for additional work on top of the existing well-established services for rough sleepers. Initially this additional work was focused in Bournemouth as the area has a higher number of rough sleepers compared to neighbouring areas but the additional investment has benefited both Poole and Christchurch.
To date, the funding has been invested in employing more frontline outreach workers who work directly with those sleeping rough as well as a co-ordinator and specialist staff including a psychological interventions worker, landlord liaison to help people access the private rented sector, an additional Housing First officer and drug and alcohol specialist outreach workers. A clinical psychologist also supports the staff and clients due to the growing complexity of helping vulnerable people to cope with leaving the streets and back into housing
The latest funding will allow for the additional work to continue and be enhanced for a further year as well as the introduction of some new initiatives to include:
- A housing hospital discharge co-ordinator to support those who are at risk of homelessness to access support and suitable accommodation.
- Establish a new scheme called ‘Somewhere safe to stay’ providing immediate access via the rough sleeper outreach team so that someone who is on the streets can come inside where support workers can then work with them to get the right support.
- Establish a housing-led accommodation block, similar to the Housing First model by providing self-contained accommodation and on-site support available 24/7.
From April 2019 to date – 140 vulnerable people who were sleeping rough in the town were supported in to temporary accommodation as a result of the additional funding. The majority have now successfully moved in to accommodation as a result. This is in addition to the well-established existing services to support rough sleepers where year on year an average of 15-20 people were helped off the streets each month.
Councillor Kieron Wilson, Cabinet Member for Housing, BCP Council, said: “This latest funding announcement is great news and is much needed. In previous years, we have been more focused on enhancing existing contracts and services to support rough sleepers. This latest funding will help us to establish new initiatives such as the housing-led accommodation and ‘Somewhere safe to stay’ scheme which gives our outreach team a safe space to access immediately in order to engage with someone who has been on the streets. We believe that through our existing work and these new initiatives we can build on the success and it will have a real positive impact.
“However, we accept that rough sleeping and homelessness continues to be an issue, not just locally but nationally and we are committed to continuing with our targeted work and prioritising homelessness prevention.”