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Government funding received to purchase permanent housing for people previously sleeping rough

Published Tuesday 8 December, 2020
Last updated on Tuesday 8 December, 2020

People living in temporary accommodation who have previously slept rough will soon be able to move into more permanent housing thanks to more than £380,000 from the government’s Next Steps Accommodation Fund.

The fund has been set up to help those who were placed in temporary accommodation as part of the government’s Everyone In initiative, which saw thousands of people sleeping rough across the country brought in off the streets during the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. It will help those who are now ready to the take the next step into a more permanent housing solution.

The funding has been awarded to Swale Borough Council and its partners Riverside and The Forward Trust who will purchase properties in Swale to convert into shared accommodation.

A dedicated support team will also be recruited to help people move from their temporary accommodation into the new long-term housing.

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

“We’re delighted to receive more than £380,000 funding from the government to help people who were previously sleeping rough into more permanent accommodation.

“We’ll be working with Riverside and The Forward Trust to find appropriate properties and recruit support workers.

“We’ve already helped more than 60 people off the streets into accommodation in the past year though the Everyone In initiative, and this money will help them move on into more suitable accommodation.

“Alongside this funding, we’ll also be contributing £63,000, as well as an additional £439,000 from Riverside which gives us almost £900,000 in total to purchase registered affordable housing properties that will help people who are ready to take that next step.”

Chris Hammond, Area Manager at Riverside, said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Swale Council and The Forward Trust to deliver this fantastic project to get people into suitable accommodation and prevent them from having to return to the streets.

“Through our work at The Quays, we’ve seen the difference that targeted funding and collaboration between providers and Local Authorities can make to the lives of people affected by homelessness. The Next Steps Accommodation Programme gives Swale Council and providers the opportunity to build on the successes of recent years.

“People can find themselves sleeping rough for a number of complicated reasons and recovery from homelessness can take time. With a comprehensive support package and recovery services from our partners Forward Trust, we’re confident that people will have everything they need to move away from homelessness for good.”

Mike Trace, Chief Executive at The Forward Trust, said:

“We are excited to join this partnership with Riverside and Swale Council to help people engaging with the Next Steps Accommodation Fund Programme make transformational and sustainable changes in their lives.

“Forward has more than 14 years’ experience of supporting people in the community and research shows a strong link between homelessness and substance misuse, so we feel well-placed to bring our experience to this partnership.”

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

If you’ve seen someone sleeping rough 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.