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Extra support for rough sleepers in Stoke-on-Trent after funding boost

Published: Wednesday, 24th January 2024

Rough sleepers in Stoke-on-Trent are in line for extra support thanks to more than £200,000 of Government funding.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been awarded £209,140 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to support the city’s most vulnerable residents.

The Move On and Prevention funding, which is part of the Rough Sleeping Initiative 2023-2025, will enable the city council to provide additional support and accommodation for people sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough in Stoke-on-Trent.

The money will be used to help plug the gap in provision for individuals who have long histories of rough sleeping and those with complex needs, helping to provide alternative support and accommodation for individuals who have experienced barriers to accessing services previously.

This will include additional bed capacity for off-the-street and emergency accommodation in the form of 10 new night shelter beds which will be delivered by Adullam Homes and Brighter Futures housing associations.

This is in addition to emergency accommodation which is already available for the winter period and, in particular, when the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is triggered during periods of extreme cold and adverse weather conditions.

The funding will also help to pay for a complex needs support and accommodation support worker which will help people with multiple needs, such as mental health and addiction, access the Hanley Connect Homeless Hub which is being delivered by Brighter Futures on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The remainder of the money will be used to help people set up tenancies in the private-rented sector and support those who are at high risk of rough sleeping to maintain their current tenancies.

Councillor Chris Robinson, cabinet member for housing, regeneration and planning, said: “This funding will help us to provide additional resources for rough sleepers in the city and support the work our dedicated teams are already doing to protect our most vulnerable residents.

“We could not deliver this vital work without our trusted partners and we are grateful for their ongoing support and commitment to ensuring all of our residents are safe, supported and looked after.”

Daniel Baker, director of operations at Brighter Futures, said: “We are delighted that DLUHC has actively sought to further support the vital homelessness outreach services we provide in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

“The Hanley Connect Homeless Hub has been very successful in engaging long term rough sleepers and enabling us to work with them to secure accommodation and address other needs they have.

“This funding will increase our capacity to achieve more positive outcomes as we seek to reduce the numbers of those sleeping rough in our city. The additional funding for night shelter accommodation has not only introduced much need emergency bed spaces it has already provided an opportunity for some rough sleepers who have previously been rejected by landlords to successfully demonstrate that they are tenancy ready and with our support secure a new home.”

David Maxfield, regional manager (North East) at Adullam Homes Housing Association, said: “Adullam Homes Housing Association is very proud to be working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council in ensuring relief from rough sleeping in the city is achievable by utilising our emergency accommodation.

“We have successfully accommodated several individuals into our main project that have come through SWEP and emergency provision. This not only provides the most vulnerable within society with a stable roof over their head, but a dedicated support network and pathway to recovery. We are keen to continue the good work within the city.”

Anyone concerned about a person sleeping rough, or at risk of sleeping rough, is encouraged to report it to the city council via the website or by calling the Rough Sleepers team on 0800 970 2304 which is a free phone number.

Alternatively visit www.brighter-futures.org.uk or www.thestreetlink.org.uk.