Shropshire councils given funding boost to help rough sleepers

Shropshire's two main authorities have been given nearly £300,000 government funding in a bid to reduce rough sleeping in the county.

Telford & Wrekin Council has been awarded almost £175,000 while Shropshire Council has gained nearly £124,000 in extra funding.

During the coronavirus lockdown, 434 people who were rough sleeping in the Telford & Wrekin area were offered emergency accommodation by the council.

Now it is hoped the money from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s ‘Next Steps Accommodation Programme’ will help keep vulnerbale people off the streets.

Councillor David Wright, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for housing said: “We put this bid in for funding because we wanted to make sure we could continue our hard work and build on our great achievements during the pandemic.

“Before the national lockdown was imposed in March, we set up a Covid taskforce to identify who was rough sleeping and find emergency accommodation for them followed by longer term housing.

“Working with partners Maninplace, KiP@Maninplace and Stay Telford, we meet every day to go through each individual person’s circumstances and we were able to use B&Bs and hotels as emergency accommodation in addition to the Emergency Night Inn run by Maninplace.

“Since the lockdown was announced, we have placed 253 people in B&Bs, and, with new clients presenting as homeless each day, we have around 20 clients at any one time residing in emergency accommodation. In that same time we have prevented 181 people from becoming homeless by moving them into their own long term accommodation.

“With hotels and B&Bs now open again, the challenge for us is to make sure that people don’t return to the streets. This funding will help cover the costs of short term B&Bs and longer term specialist support to help people find somewhere they can call home and settle there. The grant won’t cover all our costs and we will continue to bid for further funding.

“If anyone does find a rough sleeper in the borough or if you are at risk of becoming homeless, please call our Housing Hotline on 01952 381925. We’re here to help.”

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said the funding is part of the government's 'Everyone In' initiative.

"Earlier this year I announced a £105 million fund to secure short term, interim solutions for the individuals brought in off the street – bringing inside some of the most vulnerable people to enable them to self-isolate and get the help they need," Mr Jenrick said.

"This programme protected thousands of people and has been widely regarded as amongst the most successful in any developed nation.

"Now I have announced the allocations of this latest fund. 274 councils across England will be receiving £91.5 million to provide short term, interim accommodation – including supporting people into the private rented sector and maintaining extended emergency accommodation where needed, for those currently in emergency accommodation."

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