South Essex to get close to £1.5million cash boost to tackle rough sleeping

The government has announced it will boost funding for South Essex to help local authorities get people off the streets and into accommodation.

Southend, Basildon and Thurrock are all set to get a share of the £1.438million which will be used to finance night shelters, improve mental health funding and fund outreach teams.

The largest share will go to Southend Council which is due to get £705,155, followed by Basildon Council which will get £474,871 and Thurrock Council which will get £258,674.

A spokesman for Southend Council said the money would be used to support the annual Church Winter Night Shelter programme, as well as a number of existing support services for substance misuse

Councillor Ian Gilbert, leader of the council with a responsibility for housing, said: “No one should have to sleep without a roof over their head and this money from central Government helps us directly tackle the ongoing issues of people sleeping rough.

“We will use the money to improve and develop our existing schemes, many of which involve employing people to be on the streets, talking and engaging with those who are sleeping rough. This is the best way to get them the help and support they need.

“We will also continue to work closely with our partners, including HARP, Peabody and STARS, to make sure we are doing all we can to help those who need it.”

In Basildon, the money will go towards a number of services including emergency night shelters and supported Houses of Multiple Occupancy.

A Basildon Council spokesperson said: “This funding is a major boost for our services, staff, and most of all people who need a bed.

“Over the past year we have seen a big reduction in rough sleeping in the Basildon through personalised support – but we remain dedicated to helping people find housing.

“We greatly appreciate the support of central government in helping create stable homes for those who need them the most.”

It is all part of an extra £112million of funding allocated to the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative which was launched in 2018 to help vulnerable rough sleepers across the country get the support they need to rebuild their lives.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter