Next steps accommodation funding for former rough sleepers

We’ve been successful in securing extra funding for providing safe accommodation for people sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic and supporting their move into longer-term housing.

Our bids to the national Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) have secured around £6.4 million additional funding.

This will help cover some of costs of the accommodation and support for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough, as well as fund additional accommodation and support to help prevent them from needing to return to the streets.

The NSAP funding comes in two parts.

We’ve been awarded around £3.4 million to provide immediate short-term accommodation and support this financial year, and around £3 million to provide longer term sustainable housing options for the people accommodated. 

The funding is ring-fenced to support the 369 people we were accommodating at the end of September and anyone subsequently found to be sleeping rough in the city.

There are also conditions attached to the funding to move on at least 40% of the people accommodated by 31 December. 

This is a huge challenge, but we are working very hard to find suitable long-term sustainable housing or, for those without a local connection to the city, support their return to the area where they can be offered accommodation - as long as it’s safe for them to do so.

The longer-term funding will be used to deliver 30 additional ‘Housing First’ homes with support through our Home Purchase Policy scheme by 31 March 2021, and 20 units of high support accommodation for just over three years through partners St Mungo’s and Clarion.

While significant, the NASP funding does not cover the full amount bid for to cover the projected costs of accommodation, support and move on to 31 March 2020.

There are also areas in the bid that have not been funded that are important to our ability to successfully move people into sustainable accommodation. Alternative funding will need to be found to cover those areas.

Ongoing care and support

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve provided safe, self-contained accommodation for people who were sleeping rough.

We’ve worked with health and voluntary sector partners to set up a ‘Care & Protect’ model which, after assessing a person’s medical and support needs, directs the accommodation and support package provided.

This has allowed us to provide care and separate accommodation for anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, while protecting those who are vulnerable to Covid-19 by accommodating them elsewhere. 

Everyone who needs it is being provided with food and support.

We’re currently accommodating around 340 people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in the city and are working on ‘Personal Housing Plans’ to support them all into sustainable long-term housing. 

We’ve successfully moved more than 100 people on from the emergency accommodation since the end of September. However, we are seeing more people rough sleeping in the city every week, which adds to the pressure of providing accommodation.

For some people with complex needs it can be difficult to move from the streets, and we are aware of around 30 people currently sleeping rough in the city.

Our partner organisations are continuing work with them to ensure everyone rough sleeping can be supported into safe accommodation.

Ending the need for rough sleeping

Councillor David Gibson, joint chair of the Housing Committee and joint deputy chair of the Policy & Resources Committee, said:

“This funding is vital to our commitment to avoid anyone needing to return to the streets. 

“We’ve been awarded the highest amount of any local authority in the country. That’s down to the hard work our officers and partners put in to the bid itself, as well as the incredible package of support that’s been available for rough sleepers throughout the year.

“The accommodation and support we’ve been able to offer people who were rough sleeping this year has been crucial to keeping them – and the city – safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It has given us and our partners a vital opportunity to work closely with people we’ve previously struggled to engage.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved in this response who have worked so hard to get ‘everybody in’.

“The funding is not as much as we need and there are important areas we still need to identify resources for if we are to end the need for rough sleeping in the city.

“Our challenge now is to secure enough suitable longer-term housing and support for all the people accommodated within a very short timeframe. 

“If we do not sustainably house 40% of the homeless people by 31 December, the government say they will deny us over £1 million of the grant, so it is vital that we strain every sinew to meet this target over the next seven weeks.

“With the shortage of accommodation in the city and more newly arrived rough sleepers each week, this is possibly the biggest challenge of all.”

Councillor Gill Williams, the opposition lead for housing, said:

“It’s testament to the hard work of staff and volunteers across many services that we’ve been able to secure this extra funding. 

“The work to provide support and accommodation to keep who were sleeping rough safe this year has been incredible.

“We believe everyone should have safe, secure accommodation and, where needed, an appropriate level of support to create a good quality of life. 

“There’s still a very difficult challenge ahead but we hope this funding helps achieve that for everyone we’ve been supporting this year.”

Worried about someone rough sleeping?

Our outreach service St Mungo’s are continuing to contact anyone sleeping rough and move them into the safe accommodation.

If you see anyone you think might be sleeping rough, please let us know by contacting Streetlink. St Mungo’s Street Outreach Service can then get in touch with them and help them get the support they need. 

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