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New homeless support team to be set up in Suffolk thanks to £209,000 grant

A new homeless support team will be formed following a succesful bid for funding from West Suffolk Council, Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

A new homeless support team will be formed following a succesful bid for funding from West Suffolk Council, Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

Julie Skone

A new support team will be formed in Suffolk to help homeless people find and retain private sector housing following a successful bid for government funding.

Recruitment is currently under way for the new supported lettings team, which will enable West Suffolk Council, and Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils to offer greater support to rough sleepers.

Currently housing authorities often find private sector landlords are unwilling to house somebody who has been homeless and sleeping rough as that person may have addiction, mental health or other complex needs and require support.

That then leaves councils and rough sleepers dependent on hostel and other emergency or temporary accommodation beds.

The councils have now been awarded £209,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as part of the Government's plans to end rough sleeping by 2027 following a joint bid.

The aim of the support team is to help people at the early stages of rough sleeping before they become entrenched in the lifestyle and their support needs become much more complex.

The support will include help to develop independent living skills and to manage a tenancy as well as providing access or signposting to health and care services.

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The team is expected to be in place by early autumn.

Jan Osborne, cabinet member for housing at Babergh District Council, said: "This is wonderful news for us as a council and for residents in need of this specialised support.

"Having a place to feel safe and secure is essential for everyone and this funding will enable us to support some of the most vulnerable in our community whilst also offering assurance to landlords in the district. Our housing solutions team are already doing amazing work to support those at risk of homelessness in Babergh, but these funds will help to develop this work further whilst supporting people to find a home to build their future."

Julie Flatman, cabinet member for communities and housing at Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "We understand how important it is for everyone to have a place to call home, regardless of their situation.

"It's great we've been able to secure funding to offer support to those at risk of homelessness when they need it most, whilst giving them the life skills to become more independent.

"This specialised team will play a vital role in preventing and reducing homelessness in line with the aims set out in our Joint Homelessness Reduction and Rough Sleeping Strategy with Babergh."

Sara Mildmay-White, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing at West Suffolk Council, said: "This will enable us to help people by wrapping support around their tenancies, tailored to whatever their individual needs are, offering the assurances that landlords need that they won't be left in the lurch if problems occur.

"It will complement the work of our rough sleeper outreach team which includes expertise in mental health and addiction support, and it will further our ongoing work to both prevent and reduce rough sleeping."

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