West Suffolk successful in £250,000 bid to reduce rough sleeping

A West Suffolk initiative to help reduce rough sleeping in the area and better support people in preventing them from returning to the streets, has been awarded nearly £250,000 in Government funding after a successful bid.

West Suffolk Councils (Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council) and partners met with representatives of The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to outline their initiatives to help support people who are homeless, many of whom often have complex needs such as mental health issues and/ or drink or drug addiction.

The successful bid, which was awarded £245,782 by Government, is supported by a range of partners including: Home Group; Notting Hill Genesis; Turning Point; Anglia Care Trust; Cambridge Pringle Group; Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT); Havebury Housing; YMCA Trinity Group; Riverside Housing; Suffolk County Council; and West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group.

The money is part of a £30 million national fund awarded to authorities that have a high number of rough sleepers. It is the first phase of Government funding for the period up to April next year. However, the Council has also bid for further money for 2019/20.

The funding will help provide multi-agency outreach workers with expertise in drug and alcohol as well as mental health issues. It will also be used to strengthen current support providing people with accommodation and working with them to help them with their issues, all with the aim of preventing them ending back on the streets.

Councillor Sara Mildmay-White, Cabinet Member for Housing for West Suffolk, said: “Reducing the number of people that are rough sleeping in our area is a priority for us but it is a complex problem and not each case is the same. Our bid was so successful because we have taken an holistic approach to this, working together with partners from all areas, and looking at not only ways of helping people off the streets and into a home but then helping them stay there. Home is where the start is and the support given to help people tackle the complex issues they may face is vital in not just maintaining a roof over their head but then enabling them to make a real change in their life. We would thank all our partners and the Ministry for listening to the work we have already done and for funding this exciting initiative which we hope will make a real difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

We are now looking for people to want to work in these challenging, yet rewarding roles. We are looking for five posts to join our existing outreach team for a period of up to 19 months, starting in September 2018. Information about these roles will be advertised on our website and on social media in the next few days.