Financial boost in fight to help homeless

A financial boost for those working to help rough sleepers get off the streets with £417,000 worth of additional funding following a successful bid by Bath and North East Somerset Homelessness Partnership.

The money follows on from 18 months of funding from central Government and will allow new services to be introduced to meet very complex needs of some rough sleepers, as well as help existing provision to continue.

The new services include a tailored response for particularly vulnerable people and support for landlords who rent accommodation to rough sleepers.

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Bath & North East Somerset Council and partners secured the money from a £45m Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) fund.

For 2020/21, the money will help fund

  • continued extended provision of emergency accommodation in severe weather,
  • cross-border working with people in or from Wiltshire to ensure valuable connections and accommodation can be kept up
  • helping people avoid rough sleeping when they are discharged from the RUH
  • mental health support workers placed with the outreach team and working with people already sleeping rough
  • a new tailored response to particularly vulnerable rough sleepers who have both mental health and substance misuse problems
  • helping rough sleepers access private rented accommodation and support for landlords who rent to rough sleepers, also a new initiative.

Tim Ball, cabinet member for Housing, Planning and Economic Development, said: “We are pleased that the excellent work already being done by a range of partner agencies across Bath and North East Somerset will not only continue for another year, but can be added to. We know that the needs of people sleeping rough are complex and can take time to address. This funding will help us build on what we know works and to develop new approaches for those whose needs are most acute.’’

Working on what is known to be effective and led by the council’s Housing Services team, partners drew up a plan for improving and extending existing services and establishing new approaches, such as working with private landlords to increase options for moving on and supporting people who struggle with both poor mental health and substance misuse.

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David Walton, Housing Director of Developing Health & Independence, said: “This funding will allow us to continue with vital work in our area to reduce rough sleeping. For example, our homeless in hospital work has helped over 80 homeless people being discharged from the RUH and ensured they had somewhere safe to go on to, rather than just going back out to the street where they’d likely soon end up back in hospital. Excitingly, the funding will also allow us to employ a worker who will support people with substance misuse and mental health needs to sustain their accommodation.”

Roanne Wootten, Operations Director at Julian House said: “This is fantastic news for rough sleepers in B&NES.  The extra services and support which were carefully mapped out ahead of the bid to central government will have a significant impact – facilitating positive changes for some of the most marginalised and vulnerable members of society.  We look forward to working with the council and other agencies to make this happen.”