A SUCCESSFUL bid for government funding will help the Council do more to reduce rough sleeping in the town.
Reading Borough Council has been awarded £316,000 from a £30m pot of cash the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has set aside for 2018/19 to significantly reduce rough sleeping across the country.
The money the Council has secured will help provide a rapid response to lower the number of people sleeping on the streets of Reading this winter. The Council will be supported by a new national Rough Sleeping Team developed to drive reductions in rough sleeping.
Reading’s new initiatives funded by the award will complement new Homelessness Support Services contracts that are to be implemented from September.
The additional services for rough sleepers will include:
· Extra street outreach workers to deliver support directly to those who are sleeping rough
· Funding towards extending the night shelter that FAITH Christian Group currently operates throughout January and February
· Additional bed spaces and support within emergency accommodation to prevent and reduce the number of people that become ‘entrenched’ in rough sleeping in Reading
· Additional officers to support with moving people into independent accommodation with the aim of freeing up much needed supported accommodation
· A rough sleeper co-ordinator role to ensure that interventions are effectively put into place and monitored
The Council will be submitting a proposal for additional funding to the MHCLG for 2019/20 in a bid to continue these additional local initiatives for a further year. The outcome of this will be announced in July or August this year.
Cllr John Ennis, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Housing, said:
“I welcome this extra money which will help get more rough sleepers off the street and into accommodation this winter.
“The Council and its partners already have a comprehensive programme to help people sleeping rough in the winter months but in spite of this, nationally and locally rough sleeping has been increasing. This extra funding will give us the opportunity to boost these services even further.
“I am pleased rough sleeping has been recognised as a national issue by the government and I hope we are successful in securing further funding in Reading next year. Tackling complex issues takes time and it is important that this extra support is maintained if we are to make a real difference.”