Hastings busker among two homeless people housed, council confirms

This picture has been shared by hundreds on social media. Picture: Ellen Finn
This picture has been shared by hundreds on social media. Picture: Ellen Finn

Two homeless people were taken off the streets of Hastings and placed in temporary accommodation last week, Hastings Borough Council has confirmed.

This confirmation comes just days after a Hastings busker left a note in chalk saying ‘Today I got my house keys. Thank you x x’ outside Bodyshop in Hastings Town Centre.

The person – described as a ‘middle aged man who had been homeless for many years’ by homeless group Warming up the Homeless – was originally thought to have been one of four homeless people housed in the week but a council spokesman corrected the figure.

Both homeless people taken off the streets this week were given temporary accommodation thanks to a £664,000 grant awarded to Hastings and Eastbourne borough councils to reduce levels of rough sleeping.

Lead councillor for housing Andy Batsford said: “The Rough Sleeping Initiative is a joint project between Hastings and Eastbourne Councils, which aims to improve access to support services, temporary accommodation and long term housing solutions for rough sleepers. We are working to mobilise the different elements of the project, but in the meantime we are looking at measures we can put in place to reduce the number of rough sleepers by winter.”

Hastings and Eastbourne councils jointly put in a bid for this additional funding to help rough sleepers after a rise in homelessness in both towns during 2012 and 2017 – as many as 40 people were sleeping rough in Hastings on any given night during autumn 2017.

The purpose of this new funding, according to Hastings Borough Council, is to provide more support services, temporary accommodation, and long-term housing solutions for rough sleepers.

Additional services that will be funded include; appointment of a rough sleeper project co-ordinator; setting up a new multi-disciplinary team to carry out assessments of each individual’s needs and provide direct access to key Statutory services, as well as offering temporary and long-term housing solutions.

The funding will also help create an Assessment Unit to provide temporary accommodation for rough sleepers for between one to three months; as well as help with the running of a ‘housing first’ pilot, getting rough sleepers with multiple and complex needs into accommodation where a dedicated team of workers will offer intensive support to help participants maintain a tenancy and sort out other health, mental health, and addiction problems.

Hastings Borough Council said it will also work alongside homeless charity Seaview ‘to reduce levels of rough sleeping’.

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