Council proposals to support rough sleepers agreed by Government

Monday, 11 June, 2018

Harlow Council’s proposals to help get people sleeping rough in the town into housing have been backed by the Government.

The Council will receive £260,500 for 2018/19 as part of a targeted Government £30m fund. 

The funding will be used on a range of measures to provide specialist support to rough sleepers. These measures include: 

  • Employing a full-time co-ordinator to oversee services and support for rough sleepers.
  • Funding two extra outreach/tenancy support workers to work for Streets2Homes.  
  • Providing support to help get people off the street and into settled accommodation suited to their needs.  
  • Extending severe weather provision across the winter period (November to February) so a range of different accommodation types can be provided to suit individual circumstances.
  • Turning disused Council properties into short-term supported accommodation where up to six rough sleepers can stay and receive targeted support from Streets2homes.

Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: 

“It is great news that our plans will get the funding needed. It means, working with Streets2Homes, we can implement all the measures we propose to support the different needs of different rough sleepers. These measures aim to give local rough sleepers the support they need leading up to and including the next winter period. 

“Behind every rough sleeper’s story there are usually many different circumstances and complex situations. We know that rough sleepers need more than just a place to live – that is the first solution for many – but it’s the specialist support and help over the long term which is equally important.

“Sadly, some people choose to sleep rough and reject support; overcoming these barriers is all part of the project. 

“We will work closely with the Government, monitoring how these measures work and looking at ways beyond next year that the right support can remain with the funding it needs.”

There were 24 rough sleepers in Harlow when the last estimated rough sleeper count took place in November 2017. This figure has continued to increase every year since 2010 when there were 7 rough sleepers in the town.

This year during the severe weather Harlow’s emergency provision was activated three times and supported up to 36 people sleeping rough.