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Council leaders have hailed an almost £1m national grant success as showing confidence in the work being delivered in the city to help rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has today (Tuesday) been awarded £952,046 from government department the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to tackle street homelessness and help people get the right support they need.

The announcement comes as the number of people sleeping rough in the city has more than halved in the past 12 months from 34 in November 2018 to 16 in November 2019. Earlier this month the council’s cabinet agreed a new five-year homelessness and rough sleeping strategy to commit the authority and its partners to focus on preventative work, delivering targeted and timely interventions and helping people to achieve sustainable recovery.

The money will support a number of initiatives:

  • An outreach service with assertive staff to help and engage with people directly on the streets, including physical healthcare, substance misuse support and mental health practitioners
  • Additional staff to support people to sustain and maintain accommodation and help prevent and reduce the repeat cycle of homelessness
  • Peer mentor co-ordination and training to enable peer support for people from those with lived experience of sleeping rough
  • The role of a rough sleeper co-ordinator, who works to bring agencies together and support people sleeping rough
  • Work with a local lettings agency to increase housing options for those leaving the streets, in the private rented sector along with landlord initiatives
  • Specialist navigator roles to support those leaving prison into accommodation and to reduce re-offending
  • Enhancing support for people sleeping rough through the Housing First project, a partnership currently being delivered by a number of agencies.

The council will continue to be supported by the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative Advisory Team, consisting of experts from the sector with a proven track record of successfully helping rough sleepers and preventing those at risk from becoming homeless.

Councillor Randolph Conteh, cabinet member for community and safer city, said: “This funding announcement shows great confidence in the work that we and partners are delivering in the city to support vulnerable people in real need of our help.

“It will enable us to continue to deliver innovative projects to not only help people into accommodation swiftly, but to provide structured support to help meet their needs. We want to eradicate rough sleeping in Stoke-on-Trent, and our new five-year strategy has this aim as its core principle. We know that there are often complex and underlying reasons that lead people onto the streets. The projects that this funding will support are designed to help understand these needs with a view to people moving into sustainable, long-term accommodation.”

Anyone who is concerned about someone sleeping rough in the city should contact the Brighter Futures Rough Sleepers Outreach Team on 0800 970 2304.

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