The Government have announced further national funding to continue to address the issue of homelessness into the next financial year.
In March, the Government set up a £30m fund, distributed to local authorities to support rough sleepers, and Southend Borough Council successfully bid for £425,000 to be spent up until March 2019. The Government have also just announced further funding that will see Southend Borough Council awarded an additional £513,000 for the year beginning April 2019.
In 2017, Southend-on-Sea featured amongst the ten highest local authorities for rough sleeping, so we are pleased to see that the issue is being taken seriously by central government.
From the announced £425,000, we are able to confirm that HARP will receive a percentage of the funding to extend our current emergency accommodation provision on Saturdays and Sundays. This will mean that we can provide additional emergency accommodation to around five extra rough sleepers every weekend.
We also aim to provide an additional 20 rooms in the next six months, which will extend our accommodation to almost 200 rooms for people that might otherwise be sleeping rough. However, the key to ending rough sleeping isn’t just as simple as providing shelter; many of the people that we work with have gone through serious trauma in their lives and require intense, professional support to eventually live a happy, healthy life.
It is not yet confirmed how the recently announced £513,000 will be spent, but we hope that some of this funding will be used to continue these extensions to our services into the financial year beginning April 2019.
Overcoming homelessness can be a very lonely and daunting journey that requires support from trained professionals who can help with recovery, and support people to build a new independent life away from the streets. This funding will allow us to recruit additional workers to engage with rough sleepers and support them to take the necessary steps to overcome homelessness for good.
We are also aiming to use our portion of this funding to recruit a team that is dedicated to helping people move on from HARP – this will include being the vital link between people that find it hard to find and sustain a tenancy, local housing providers and the private rented sector.
Our new Move On Team will be able to provide ongoing support to people in Southend to ensure they have the best possible chance of a positive future.
Jackie Bliss, HARP’s Chief Executive, said “at HARP we know how to help people overcome homelessness for good, providing the resources are in place. Through a combination of accommodation, support and meaningful activity, rough sleepers can and do recover to lead happy, healthy lives and contribute fully to life in Southend. HARP’s share of this additional funding will allow us to work more intensely with rough sleepers and is a big step in the right direction towards helping some of the town’s most vulnerable people”.