West Berkshire Council

New funding enables work to continue to reduce Rough Sleeping

West Berkshire Council has received an additional £475,000 from the Government's Rough Sleeping Initiative

2018 Rough Sleeper

Issued on: 29 January 2020

The Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) Fund is to help to further reduce rough sleeping from April 2020. This new funding supplements existing funding that is already committed for the same period.

The successful bid will enable the council to continue the important work set out in their newly adopted (19 December 2019) Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy to help ensure that no-one needs to sleep rough.

The strategy links to the council's emerging Housing Strategy and their adopted plan to reduce rough sleeping in West Berkshire.

It articulates the core priorities for the next five years with a focus on enhanced prevention and early intervention to address homelessness and rough sleeping and an increased range of housing options and even stronger partnership working.

Hilary Cole, West Berkshire's Executive Member for Housing and Homelessness said: 

"We are delighted that our bid was successful. The cash will enable us to continue the work we did in 2018/9 and this financial year to help more rough sleepers into safe accommodation.

"There is no doubt that there will always be challenges around homelessness and rough sleeping, but the RSI funding is integral to ensuring the significant work already underway can continue.

"All rough sIeeping interventions are fully mobilised and we saw a 45% reduction in rough sleeping in the year to November 2019.

"We will continue to work closely with partners and to proactively bid for Government funding, using it to the best of our ability to work towards the Central Government commitment to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending rough sleeping by 2027."

Erica Gassor, Trustee and General Secretary of West Berkshire Homeless said:

"West Berkshire Homeless, who are supported so excellently by their volunteers and the community, are delighted to be giving proactive support to the Council in their initiatives to continue to reduce rough sleeping in our area.  There is still so much to do but it can be achieved by everyone working together! "

Andrew Sharp, Chief Officer at Healthwatch West Berkshire said:

"I'm very pleased that the Government has recognised the positive effects of the joint working across the voluntary and statutory sectors, and the real changes it has made to some of the most vulnerable West Berkshire residents lives.

"We continue to campaign to end involuntary rough sleeping in West Berkshire as soon as possible."

The Rough Sleeping Initiative funding will develop the following interventions, delivered with our partners, which include:

Existing services

Homelessness Reduction Coordinator

The Homelessness Reduction Coordinators role ensures that the interventions funded by the Rough Sleepers Initiative perform effectively and outcomes are achieved in line with the government's commitment to ending rough sleeping by 2027. 

Housing First Project in partnership with Sovereign Housing and Two Saints; The Council committed to support 10 rough sleepers into this project by March 2020. To date, we have supported 11 Rough Sleepers into long term accommodation via Housing First. A further commitment to accommodating a 10 more rough sleepers has been agreed for 2020/2021.

Rough Sleeper Navigator The Navigator Works in partnership alongside a range of customer-facing services - including those delivered by our partners - to support individuals sleeping rough, or at risk of rough sleeping.

Dual Diagnosis Worker equipped with the skills to engage with individuals with multiple and complex needs.                                                                                                                  

Additional Outreach the Outreach Service is crucial when locating rough sleepers and building bridges between services and partners.

Personalised Funding We've been able to support 40 individuals by providing financial assistance to fund rent in advance, rent deposit, furniture, carpets, identification and training. Further funding is available to provide continued support to those who require financial assistance and move away from sleeping rough. 

Resettlement - Move on Worker The resettlement worker plays a pivotal role in supporting resettlement away from emergency or temporary accommodation.

Rehabilitation One individual with multiple and complex needs has been supported into a residential rehabilitation programme. It is intended that a further two placements are to be funded to enable entrenched rough sleepers with addictions away from the streets. 

Additional Funding

Specialist Navigator - Prison Release/Hospital Discharge A specialist Navigator will work within this cohort of individuals to build relationships, trust and develop a more effective pathway into accommodation upon release.

Homeless Hub - Day Provision - A daytime provision will be provided to those who are Rough Sleeping and be a central point where multiple support services including the voluntary sector will base themselves to promote better engagement with service users. 

Emergency unit - A single bed unit will be brought into service to use as emergency accommodation for those unable to access statutory resolutions.