Help for rough sleepers with £1million boost to homelessness services in Sunderland

Some of the most vulnerable people on Wearside are set to receive extra support after homelessness services received a funding boost of nearly £1million.

Sunderland City Council has been awarded a share of money worth around £991,000 following a successful bid to the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative.

Council chiefs say the funding will be used over three years to help ensure the availability of supported accommodation options for rough sleepers and to extend provision of specialist support in the city.

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In addition, the funding will be used to create new staff roles within Sunderland City Council to help people move from the street to independent living.

File picture from Adobe Stock

Councillor Kevin Johnston, cabinet member for Dynamic City, welcomed news of the successful government funding bid.

Cllr Johnston said: “The funding is money that we have bid for and been successful in securing to offer and support the city’s on-going homelessness response services.

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“This is because, like other areas of the country, Sunderland does have some rough sleepers.

“Our latest count this month found five people sleeping rough.

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“Most rough sleepers have complex issues and as a council that’s committed to all residents, this new funding will help us to continue our work to help people off the streets and into independent living.

“The funding will provide supported accommodation options for rough sleepers and allow us to further develop resources and staffing roles to help people move from the street to independent living.”

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Figures presented to Sunderland councillors in March, 2022, listed the top three causes of homelessness as family no longer being “willing or able to accommodate,” domestic abuse and relationships ending.

Between April 2021 and January 2022, the council helped to “relieve” homelessness in 581 cases, including those presenting as street homeless, hospital discharges and prison releases.

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Earlier this month, the Government published its £2billion Rough Sleeping Strategy, which includes up to £500million over three years for the Rough Sleeping Initiative, which this year will help provide 14,000 beds for rough sleepers and 3,000 staff to provide tailored support across England.

This includes helping individuals find work, manage their finances and access mental and physical health services.

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At a meeting of Sunderland City Council’s Economic Prosperity Scrutiny Committee this week, councillors heard the local authority had previously been involved in shared bids to the Government with neighbouring councils.

But Graham Scanlon, the city council’s assistant director of housing and communities, said the council decided to “bid alone” this time due to the “nature of the issues we were facing”.

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Mr Scanlon, speaking at the scrutiny panel on Tuesday, September 27, said the work of council teams in developing the bid had “created probably the highest allocation that we have seen”.

The housing chief added:”We have got a three-year allocation and that is allowing us to bring more people within the team with specialist services and will enable us to do an awful lot more in terms of some winter provision.

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“So it’s quite exciting that as a city we have managed to secure that”.

Sunderland City Council provides support and help to those who are homeless or worried about becoming homeless.

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If you’re sleeping rough or know someone who is sleeping rough, you can contact the Housing Options team.

To get help for anyone sleeping rough call 0800 2346084 or visit Streetlink.

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Further information can be found on Sunderland City Council’s website here: www.sunderland.gov.uk/homeless-and-housing-advice