Funding secured to tackle rough sleeping

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

Three local councils have secured funding of £150,000 to continue outreach work for rough sleepers.

South Hams District, West Devon Borough and Teignbridge District Councils are all working closely in partnership to provide another year of essential support for rough sleepers.

The funding will help to continue the valuable work of three outreach workers helping vulnerable people who sleep rough or at risk of doing so. It will also provide a further year of Multi-Agency Hub and co-ordinator support. The Hub meets bi-monthly to discuss rough sleepers and their complex needs, it develops accommodation strategies, support plans of action and shares best practice. The Hub is made up of a wide range of vital statutory services who work together to improve the future of vulnerable residents.

South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils will be working in close partnership with local housing associations to provide self-contained flats for rough sleepers.  The intention is for these properties to become their long term homes after an initial period of support.

Occupants will be assessed by the Hub based on their need.  The new tenants will be providing a strong commitment to working with support agencies so they can get the guidance, care and support they need to turn their life around, directly from their new home rather than from off the street.

They will also be provided with a rural transport allowance and a small personal budget to help them to get to important meetings with their support services. To help the health and wellbeing of those suffering from addiction, there are two new part time posts created this year.  They include a Recovery Navigator who will work two days a week, as well as a Substance Misuse Nurse, also for two days per week across the three council areas. These roles will help the councils provide alcohol and drug recovery support to people sleeping rough more easily.

South Hams District Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Hilary Bastone, said: “We will be working with West Devon Borough Council to provide self-contained flats for rough sleepers through the Supported Temporary Accommodation and Resettlement (STAR) Project. Access to flats will be prioritised through the Multi-Disciplinary Hub which we have set up in partnership with Teignbridge District Council.

‘While the traditional approach of simply providing a roof over someone’s head in the form of emergency accommodation has had some success, with rough sleepers this has been limited. It has proved particularly challenging for the more deep-rooted rough sleepers and clients with complex needs to follow the rules necessarily imposed by the accommodation.

‘This has resulted in either the accommodation being declined or failing quickly. The STAR project works on the idea that by providing a home for the rough sleeper rather than just shelter there is significantly greater buy-in from the client.”

West Devon Borough Council’s Lead Member for Homes, Cllr Debo Sellis, said: “I’m very pleased by this continued funding and what it offers to our
communities by providing these much needed and essential homes for those who are rough sleeping.

‘By looking to the future and offering more permanent homes through the STAR Project, we hope this will encourage our most vulnerable residents to accept the help and support on offer.

‘We want to break the cycle of rough sleeping so that our residents can turn their lives around and look forward to a brighter future.  Having more council staff available to support that aim can only be a good thing for everyone.”

Teignbridge District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, Cllr Martin Wrigley said:  “I am delighted that Teignbridge has been awarded this funding with South Hams and West Devon Councils. Rough sleeping is one of the most serious social issues facing our communities.

‘Working in partnership with our neighbouring Councils strengthens our ability to tackle the underlying issues and to help people find a permanent place to live.

‘This funding also enables us to work with other agencies to provide personalised support and assistance to rough sleepers, helping to improve their life chances.”

Local Life