Further Funding Secured To Help Rough Sleepers

East Suffolk Council has secured nearly half a million to help support rough sleepers in the district.

In September 2020, East Suffolk Council received £93,312 as part of the government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) to provide accommodation and support to rough sleepers during the pandemic.

Following a successful bid, the council has secured an additional £389,482 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in the next stage of the NSAP to provide additional support to rough sleepers in East Suffolk and to deliver units of longer-term move-on accommodation.

The additional funding will enable the council to deliver a scheme that offers a higher level of support to those who need it before they are able to live independently. It will provide housing for former rough sleepers where they can live for up to two years, ensuring they have a roof over their head and access to the support needed to help keep them off the streets.

To deliver this vital service, East Suffolk Council is proposing to turn a vacant home in Lowestoft into a seven-bed house of multiple occupancy to accommodate the clients who require this specialist, supported accommodation. The scheme will be delivered in partnership with Orwell Housing, who will lease the property from the council and provide ongoing management, care and support for the residents.

Cllr Richard Kerry, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Housing, said: “East Suffolk Council is committed to ending homelessness and rough sleeping. We welcome this additional funding from the government and we will use it to build on all the good work that has taken place during the pandemic to help vulnerable people on the path to a secure life, with a place they can call home.

“We will continue working closely with key partners in our efforts to support rough sleepers and to ensure as few as possible return to the streets by offering long-term, sustainable solutions and support tailored to the individual.”

Wendy Evans-Hendrick, Chief Executive Officer at Orwell Housing, said: “We are excited to be able to build on our partnership working with East Suffolk Council and expand our homeless services with this specialist accommodation in Lowestoft.

“Providing people with a safe, secure, and comfortable home along with the right support is at the heart of what we do. Being able to contribute to the Covid-19 response, supporting homeless people to take control of their future and have the greatest chance of being healthy, happy and safe is a good positive outcome from the pandemic.”

As a response to Covid-19, East Suffolk Council has placed 38 homeless people in emergency accommodation to prevent them from rough sleeping during a public health emergency. East Suffolk Council has been able to secure permanent offers of accommodation for 34 of these clients and the remaining four are currently in emergency accommodation until a suitable offer can be made.

The emergency accommodation has been provided from the council’s own housing stock as well as accommodation sourced through the private rented sector which has been furnished with the essentials, including furniture, white goods and food parcels.

This was made possible by the council’s Housing Needs, Tenancy Services and Repairs and Maintenance teams who worked closely together with partners, supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to ensure that homeless people were offered accommodation and support at short notice.

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