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Funding to support borough's aim to eradicate rough sleeping

News release 9640, published on 14 Feb 2020
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 £200,00 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to provide crucial services to stop rough sleeping on the borough’s streets.

The funding will be received in 2020/21 as part of a national rough sleeper funding programme and will continue to support the council’s innovative approach with partners through the 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 eradicate rough sleeping in the borough by 2022 by providing:

• specialist clinical psychologist support for rough sleepers and vulnerable homeless people

• a ‘peer mentor’ scheme – an exciting initiative where former homeless people 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.

Over the past four years the council and its partners have developed a reputation nationally for their work in reducing the number of rough sleepers in the borough – falling from 26 people in 2016 to five people in 2019. But the partnership is clear five people is still too many and more needs to be done to reduce this further.

Cabinet Member for Homes and Families and Chair of the Social Inclusion Partnership Cllr Tristan Robinson said: “In Basingstoke and Deane there is a real drive to work together to tackle rough sleeping and the lower number of people recorded through the annual count demonstrates this approach is working. But we all agree that five people sleeping on the streets is still too many. This additional funding is vital to helping us work towards our target of eradicating rough sleeping by 2022, which includes preventing any new vulnerable people from sleeping rough in the first place. It cannot be achieved by one single organisation or group working in isolation, which is why our focus is on sharing expertise and knowledge to support our most vulnerable residents while combining the tremendous energy and enthusiasm from community groups, local homelessness charities and volunteers.”

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.

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