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£180,000 to support borough’s homeless

Published Friday 18 September, 2020
Last updated on Friday 18 September, 2020

Swale Borough Council has received more than £180,000 from the government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme to help provide interim accommodation and support to rough sleepers.

This funding will help the council’s work to move rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic to move into appropriate accommodation.

The council received the highest amount of funding of Kent district council’s, and is awaiting a decision on a separate application for funding for a longer term accommodation scheme.

Cllr Ben Martin, cabinet member for housing at the council, said:

“We are delighted to receive this funding from the government which is the highest of all the district council’s in Kent.

“We’ve helped more than 60 rough sleepers into accommodation in the past year though the Everyone In initiative, and this money will help them remain in suitable accommodation.

“Moving people from temporary into long-term accommodation is notoriously difficult, so this funding will help us secure 20 long-term leases in the private rented sector where landlords can request up to six-months rent up front, alongside a one-month deposit which can cost thousands for a one bedroom flat in Swale.

“Alongside this funding, we also submitted another bid so that we can lease eight units of accommodation through the Riverside Housing Group, and work with Swale Housing First to provide a more seamless approach from all our partners and recruit a  full-time support officer to help people moving from temporary accommodation into long-term housing.”

Cllr Ghlin Whelin, deputy cabinet member for housing at the council, said:

"We are determined to do all we can to get people off the streets and into appropriate accommodation.

“We’ve recently found suitable temporary accommodation for a couple with an elderly dog who had been living in tent for four years, an adult male who’s mental health has improved since having a stable home and is now able to start rebuilding his life and a young man who has experienced homelessness and incarceration since leaving the care system as a teenager.

“We urge anybody who is sleeping rough to get in touch with us to see how we can help.”

Anyone sleeping rough in Swale should contact the council on 01795 417485.

If you’ve seen someone rough sleeping and you think they’re in immediate danger or in need of urgent medical help, call 999.

For more information and advice about rough sleeping and homelessness, visit www.swale.gov.uk/homelessness-prevention.

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