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Rough sleeping funding boost for Worthing Council

Released: Thursday, 06 September 2018

Worthing Borough Council leaders have welcomed extra funding to support rough sleepers across our communities.

The government yesterday pledged more than £340,000 to the council which will ensure it can continue offering vital support until the spring of 2020.

As is the case with many places across the UK, rough sleeping in Worthing is on the rise. Council leaders said the cash boost would ensure it could continue to provide accessible alternatives to sleeping on the streets for those in need.

Councillor Heather Mercer, Worthing Borough Council's Executive Member for Customer Services, said:

“We very much welcome this announcement from the government. It allows us to continue our work supporting those who find themselves on the streets and people at risk of rough sleeping to ensure they can access the right support at the right time.”

Worthing was one of 84 councils across the UK to benefit from funding which was announced by communities secretary James Brokenshire yesterday (5th September 2018).

The £34 million pot covers the 2019/20 financial year and is aimed at areas which have the highest numbers of rough sleepers in the country.

The funding comes on the back of £271,000 which was awarded to the Council in June for the current year.

Money is being used to fund a dedicated rough sleeper coordinator as well as outreach workers to provide greater support to those in need, particularly in remote locations.

Assessment beds for new rough sleepers and those discharged from hospital or mental health units will continue while two longer term temporary accommodation units have been established.

A dedicated employment and skills coach has also been hired to support individuals into work.

Other schemes will see the council work with voluntary and community sector organisations to run emergency night shelters in cold weather and offer support for those at risk of tenancies being ended.

The schemes will be well used, as recent figures showed the number of rough sleepers in Worthing increased from 24 in 2016 to 35 in 2017.

Cllr Mercer said:

“There is no doubt that numbers of rough sleepers are on the rise in Worthing, as they are in other coastal towns across the UK. This is due to a 'perfect storm' of high rents, a limited supply of affordable housing and changes to the benefits system.

“We have also changed the way in which we are getting this data with an approach based on evidence rather than headcounts meaning we can reach more people, particularly those in remote locations.

“We remain committed to keep on working with our valued partners to do everything we can to support rough sleepers.”

(PR18-153)

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