Homelessness: 'Fewer on the streets but many in hostels'

Rough sleeping and homeless families have been helped enormously in the Babergh district thanks to p

Councils are set being given thousands of pounds each to help tackle rough sleeping - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

"Fewer people are on the streets but there are many in hostels" - that is the stark warning as £2.8million was given to Suffolk and north Essex councils to fight rough sleeping.

Nationally, the government has awarded councils £203million as part of its Rough Sleeper Initiative to help reduce the number of people on the streets.

That is an 81% increase on the £112m given last year, with councils like Colchester this year being awarded £385,572 and East Suffolk getting £878,088.

Ipswich Borough Council has been given £638,714 for its work, which includes its Housing First scheme to give the most entrenched rough sleepers keys to their own home.

The money, a rise on what the authority received last year, means it can start a new emergency bed service and recruit a tenancy support officer to support former rough sleepers in private rented accommodation.

Borough leader David Ellesmere and housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald at the new temporary acco

Ipswich council housing portfolio holder Neil MacDonald, left, pictured with authority leader David Ellesmere - Credit: Archant

Neil MacDonald, the council's portfolio holder for housing and health, said he was "really pleased our hard work is being recognised".

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He also praised the "good news on the emergency bed provision and tenancy support, which will be a great help to rough sleepers".

However, as the government said its investment in the Rough Sleeper Initiative had cut the number of people on the streets by a third nationwide, Mr MacDonald said: "Fewer people are on the streets but there are many in hostels.

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"More funding for permanent homes is urgently needed.”

Others to benefit from Rough Sleeper Initiative funding include Babergh District Council, which has been awarded £398,154, West Suffolk Council, which has been awarded £505,142, and Tendring District Council, which will get £78,572.

Mid Suffolk and Braintree district councils have been awarded smaller amounts, with each getting £5,000, while Essex County Council has been awarded £467,863 under the scheme.

Eddie Hughes, minister for rough sleeping, said: "From providing bed spaces and night shelters, to funding dedicated support staff and medical treatment, this funding will mean that crucial work to help people off the streets can continue.

"This is part of an unprecedented £750m of government investment this year to help us reach our goal of ending rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament."

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