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Funding boost in council's fight against homelessness

PUBLISHED: 13:05 06 April 2019 | UPDATED: 13:05 06 April 2019

East Suffolk Council has been awarded funding as part of the government's Rough Sleeping Initiative. Picture: THINKSTOCK

East Suffolk Council has been awarded funding as part of the government's Rough Sleeping Initiative. Picture: THINKSTOCK

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The newly formed East Suffolk Council has secured more than £200,000 in government funding to support work with rough sleepers.

The authority has been awarded £202,150 as part of the government’s national Rough Sleeping Initiative, which has allocated £46million to 246 local authorities.

East Suffolk Council, the recent merger of the previous Suffolk Coastal and Waveney District council’s aim to use the funding to employ new staff to liaise with the county’s homeless.

Street outreach workers, a mental health practitioner and a rough sleeper coordinator will be hired by the authority to focus on providing an increased level of support for those in need, as well as helping to find accommodation.

The government funding comes as the council recently secured additional funding to the Access Community Trust and Lowestoft Rising, two groups which will further help to tackle the region’s homeless problem.

During the winter months, more than 80 people accessed the council’s emergency accommodation via the “Thin Ice Project” - a partnership between the council, Lowestoft Foodbank, Lowestoft Rising and the Access Community Trust.

It is said that 21 of those people now have permanent accommodation supplied by the Access Community Trust.

Although the project ran from November to February, the authority has said that it can be reactivated in the event of poor weather.

Cairistine Foster-Cannan, head of housing at East Suffolk Council said: “Through our work with our partners, we are committed to increasing the support available to people sleeping rough in east Suffolk and preventing homelessness by tackling the underlying causes and supporting vulnerable households.

“We are also increasing the supply of suitable accommodation by working with private landlords and partners across the district.”

It is claimed that as a result of work between the authority, Ipswich Borough Council and charities has seen a decrease in rough sleepers in the north of the county from 20 people to six from 2018 to 2017, and from six people to three in the south.

Elsewhere, the Benjamin Foundation has urged households in Suffolk to open their doors to vulnerable people to cut rough sleeper numbers.

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