A programme to help rough sleepers off the streets of East Sussex has received a funding boost.
Rother District Council, in partnership with Wealden District Council and Lewes District Council, has successfully bid for £120,000 from the Government’s £46 million Rough Sleeping Initiative fund.
The cash will be used for schemes to target long-term rough sleepers who need the most support, employing a strategy known as ‘Housing First’.
The approach, which has proved to be successful in Europe and the US, offers permanent, affordable accommodation to those most in need and support to help them stay off the streets.
Cllr Charles Clark, Rother District Council cabinet member for housing, welfare and equalities, said: “Traditional homelessness strategies see provision of permanent housing as the end of the process.
“The Housing First approach gets those in greatest need into permanent accommodation first and foremost, and then provides them with the personalised support they need to stay off the streets.”
The funding forms part of the Government’s £100 million Rough Sleeping Strategy, aimed at halving rough sleeping rates by 2022 and eradicating the problem completely by 2027.
Councillor Ray Cade, Wealden Cabinet member for Housing and Benefits, said: “People may not associate largely rural areas such as ours with homelessness but it is a real, and growing, problem.
“There are no easy answers and tackling this issue needs a co-ordinated approach. This funding will help us to focus resources on helping chronic rough sleepers into stable, long-term housing.”
According to the housing charity Shelter, at least 320,000 people in Britain are homeless, representing a nine per cent increase in two years.
Cllr Ron Maskell, Lewes District Council cabinet member for housing, said: “There has been a significant increase in homelessness across the country in recent years, including the Lewes district.
“This funding will help us to tackle this issue and to provide real, lasting support to people most in need, helping them to get off the streets while addressing the often complex issues which are likely to have contributed to their becoming homeless.”