Extra bed spaces for rough sleepers or people at risk of rough sleeping are to be created in South Lakeland thanks to a successful £388,987 funding bid to government.
South Lakeland District Council’s Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme will create an additional 12 move-on bed spaces, including four complex needs spaces.
These will be hosted by Home Group, utilising their housing stock around the district.
The grant, to be used over the next three years, came from the MHCLG’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme announced in August.
It will assist the council in meeting its priorities set out in the Homeless and Rough Sleeping Strategy for South Lakeland for which there are four key priorities:
- Homeless prevention;
- Increase the supply of settled accommodation;
- Ensuring the right support is available to those that need it;
- Tackling complex needs.
Councillor Jonathan Brook, SLDC’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for housing and innovation, said: “The delivery of affordable homes and tackling homelessness are key priorities of South Lakeland District Council’s work.
“From providing homes to meet need through our council plan and housing strategy, preventing and reducing homelessness and giving priority to assisting vulnerable households and reducing the risk of homelessness through our tenancy strategy to our work as partner in Cumbria Choice and its Joint Allocations Policy.
“We recognise that homelessness is not an issue that can be tackled alone and we are delighted to be able to work with Home Group on this major project which will do so much to help people in need in our communities.
“A lot of our work is focussed on preventing the misery of homelessness before it happens, by liaising with landlords to allow tenants to stay on where they are; help with paying arrears and deposits; and working with families and young people to prevent relationship breakdowns spiralling into homelessness.
“But sometimes despite all our efforts homelessness can happen and these 12 units will provide vital support in these times.
“Our message to anyone facing the plight of homelessness is to get in touch with us as quickly as possible. The sooner people ask for help, the more chance there is that we can prevent them losing the safety and security of the roof over their head.”
Lisa Russell, head of service delivery North at Home Group, said: “We’re delighted the funding bid was successful and to be working with South Lakeland District Council on this new service.
“Home Group’s support practice model – LIFE – living independently, feeling enabled – seeks to address the root causes of homelessness, taking the time to understand each customer’s situation and then build the service provision around them to meet their specific, and sometimes complex needs.”
“I’m excited to get started on this new service to support more people overcome their challenges and tackle homelessness together.”
For advice and assistance to prevent homelessness, for anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness contact Housing Options on 01539 733333 or if out of hours on 0870 428 6905. Or visit www.southlakeland.gov.uk/housing/homeless/
During the pandemic there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of people contacting SLDC. There has been a 40 per cent increase in households contacting the service for advice since March.
Earlier in the year, the Council responded to the Government’s ‘everyone in’ instruction and were able to accommodate those who needed to be accommodated by making use of the Council’s hostel at Town View Fields and working with partners such as housing associations to secure temporary accommodation as well as holiday lets, bed and breakfast and private rented accommodation. The council has been able to offer virtual assessments but has still been available for face to face for the most vulnerable in our communities.
The Council has also received £106,994 allocated by government over two years through the Rapid Rehousing Pathway and has used this to recruit a Rough Sleeping Co-ordinator, in post until March 2021. This funding has also enabled the Council to add a full-time Move On/Support Worker to work with rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping to find safe, sustainable and affordable homes.
The council worked with all those placed in temporary accommodation due to Covid-19 so that each had a plan that included options to move on from this accommodation and help with support needs.
Joint work with the Clinical Commissioning Group has also helped to ensure that wraparound health services such as dental, optical, GP, District Nurse, mental health, drug and alcohol have been available to homeless people accommodated on a temporary basis. This work is ongoing with our partners.