Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s bold and ambitious drive to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping has been given a vital funding boost by the government.
The council’s housing and social inclusion team has been awarded £653,118 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ Rough Sleeper Initiative fund to continue providing specialist services to stop rough sleeping on the borough’s streets.
The funding, which will deliver a three-year programme, will support the council’s innovative approach with partners through the Basingstoke and Deane Social Inclusion Partnership. The partnership is made up of public services, commissioned housing providers, voluntary and faith-based groups and former rough sleepers and has been working together since 2015 to reduce homelessness and address the causes of homelessness with a shared vision.
The money will go towards the council’s target to end rough sleeping in the borough by 2024 by providing:
• a specialist clinical psychologist programme supporting rough sleepers and vulnerable homeless people
• the continuation of a ‘peer mentor’ scheme which gives former homeless people with lived experience the opportunity to become support workers and advocates for rough sleepers and help shape and deliver services
• ‘navigator roles’ – support workers who help vulnerable homeless people get help and services from which they would otherwise be struggle to access
• a new Housing First scheme which provides accommodation and individually designed support services to get people off the streets.
In recent years, the council and its partners have developed a reputation nationally for their work in reducing the number of rough sleepers in the borough. In Basingstoke and Deane the number of people sleeping on the streets has consistently fallen from 26 in 2016 to zero in 2020, with two recorded in 2021.
But the partnership is clear two people is still too many and more needs to be done to reduce this further.
The council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Regeneration Cllr Samuel Carr stated: “I am delighted that we have been successful in our bid for this vital funding which demonstrates confidence in our work to tackle rough sleeping.
“It is down to the hard work, expertise and shared commitment from our partners in the Social Inclusion Partnership, which has made a huge difference across Basingstoke and Deane.
“This additional funding will be vital in allowing us to continue developing our innovative services to tackle the deep rooted issues around rough sleeping so that we can prevent any new vulnerable people from sleeping rough and reach our target of ending rough sleeping by 2024.”
For more information on supporting the Social Inclusion Partnership to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness visit www.realchangebasingstoke.org.uk or follow @realchangebas on Facebook or Twitter.