£670,000 to fund countywide response to rough sleeping

Nottingham and surrounding districts are to benefit from £670,000 of funding to tackle rough sleeping more effectively.

Nottingham City Council successfully bid for £185,000 of Government money each year for the next two years on behalf of the city and the district councils of Gedling, Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark and Sherwood and Bassetlaw as well as Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe.

This money will help to fund an expansion in professional street outreach services to areas outside the city of Nottingham. Framework, which will deliver the new, expanded service, will contribute a further £150,000 for each of the next two years – money raised from supporters, the general public and from other sources.

While there is already a street outreach team in the city, run by Framework on behalf of the City Council, no such service exists in the boroughs and districts outside the city. This means that homeless people can go without the support they need, and increases the likelihood of homeless people from outside the city gravitating towards Nottingham.

This new funding will establish a countywide Nottinghamshire Rough Sleeper Prevention Service which will offer interventions to prevent rough sleeping and where it happens, keep it to a minimum.

The new service will be run in accordance with the principles of a No Second Night Out policy. Staff will work closely with housing teams to identify people in danger of rough sleeping and deliver interventions to reduce rough sleeping by those new to the streets and among more established rough sleepers.

It will also involve a nurse from the NHS Homeless Health Team carrying out health assessments, as the health needs of rough sleepers often act as a significant barrier to sustainable independent living.

The move comes at a time when Government figures suggest a doubling in rough sleeping nationally between 2010 and 2015 – with local council estimates showing it tripled in Nottinghamshire over the same period.

Nottingham City Council put an additional £100,000 towards boosting its existing winter shelter plans this year to meet increased demand for temporary accommodation and support for people presenting themselves as homeless in the city between November and March.

Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, Councillor Jane Urquhart, said: “I’m really pleased we secured this funding as all indications are that homelessness will continue to increase and it’s important that we have a countywide response to the issue.

“Councils like ours are suffering from cuts to their grant from Government, making it harder for us to provide the support that’s needed for people facing homelessness – so any extra funding is very welcome. Closer working with councils in surrounding areas and an extension of the outreach service operated in the city into those areas will broaden and strengthen the safety net available for those who face homelessness.”

Andrew Redfern, Chief Executive of Framework, added: “We have been campaigning for some time for action to be taken on this issue and we are very pleased by this response, which has united many different stakeholders in a common cause.

“Several months ago we announced our intention to expand the reach of street outreach services into the districts and boroughs of the county in order to meet an unmet need. I am delighted that we are now being supported in this endeavour by so many partners.

“Contrary to what some may believe, helping people who sleep rough is not a straightforward matter of providing more accommodation. Many of the people we find on the streets have multiple additional problems in their lives, including substance abuse, mental health problems and history of repeat offending.

“That’s why they need more than just a bed for the night or food or clothing. They need the kind of long-term, professional, structured support that organisations like Framework are able to deliver in collaboration with its partners.”

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