'Bid to end rough sleeping by 2027 is welcome news'
Column by Coun Richard Davies, Lincolnshire County Council executive member for highways
In much-welcomed news, the Conservative Government has announced that more than £25 million will be allocated to 108 areas across the country, including here in South Kesteven – providing vital funding to help the most vulnerable rough sleepers off the streets as part of a £100 million plan to end rough sleeping by 2027.
Overall numbers are down two per cent, having risen relentlessly for the seven previous years since 2010, so the recent government figures suggesting a dip in rough sleeping can only be seen as a good thing. That being said, the reality is far too many people are still battling with finding safe and secure accommodation. The figures don’t make for easy reading – across the UK nearly 5,000 people are regularly sleeping rough, a stark increase in the last decade from under 2,000.
It’s easy to blame the so-called ‘austerity agenda’ on this rise but the true causes are far more complex. Interestingly, it would appear that the wealthiest areas of the UK have seen the most significant increase, whereas areas of the UK, such as the North East, have had better success in managing the homelessness issue.
Even locally we are not immune to the problem and I have been pleased to be able to support the various church-led initiatives to help provide meals and support for those most in need.
South Kesteven District Council is set to receive £35,000 as part of this funding, which will provide rough sleepers with the specialist support they need to get off the streets for good. Local authorities such as SKDC will use this investment to fund innovative local schemes aimed at supporting vulnerable people so they are able to get into stable accommodation where they will then receive the tailored care they need.
This will include:
- Somewhere Safe to Stay rough sleeping centres – where people on the streets can access professional help and guidance, including immediate shelter and mental health support;
- Navigator posts – specialist support workers who direct people to the services they need, such as counselling, housing advice services, mental health support or substance misuse services;
- Supported lettings schemes – helping people to secure tenancies in properties that they may not otherwise be able to access;
- Dedicated local letting agencies – specialist agencies that support vulnerable people into affordable and stable accommodation.
The Conservative Party is working hard to ensure no one has to spend a night on the streets, and this investment will provide vulnerable people here in Grantham, Stamford, Bourne and the Deepings with the support they need to get off the streets for good.
Schemes like this will help us achieve our ambition of being a country in which no-one needs to spend a night on the streets.