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£150k To Support Rough Sleepers in Swale

Written by on 6 August 2019

More support is being offered to help rough sleepers get off the streets in Swale.

Swale Borough Council is investing £150,000 in a more proactive approach to helping rough sleepers by working with charities and voluntary groups to help identify and support them back into suitable housing.

A new rough sleeping coordinator has been appointed who is working with local charities and voluntary groups such as food banks and soup kitchens to help identify and support those sleeping on the streets.

The council has also brought in specialist outreach and complex needs workers from the homeless charity Porchlight. These workers support people living on the streets by assessing their housing, social and healthcare needs, and working with partner agencies to help them move towards a more positive future.

The council are already putting together plans with community groups to provide a night shelter in winter to make sure rough sleepers have a safe warm place to stay on the coldest nights.

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

“Getting people off the streets and helping them access the support they need is a priority for the new administration, but we know we can’t do this by ourselves.

“There are already local and regional groups that are working to support people who are sleeping rough, such as food banks and soup kitchens. We want to work with these groups so we can encourage rough sleepers to engage with the support services that can help them.

“Porchlight offer us some of the best outreach support available, so working with them gives us the greatest chance of helping the most difficult cases.

“This won’t be easy, and we won’t solve it overnight, which is why we’re also working on plans to provide night shelter in the winter months, so no-one should be left out in the cold.

“All of this is part of our wider plans to address the severe housing issues we face in the borough – we need more genuinely affordable homes that meet local people’s needs.

Chris Thomas from Porchlight, said:

“The funding from Swale Borough Council means that Porchlight can get more help to people on the streets.

“We’ll also be working closely with other homelessness and housing services in the area to ensure everyone gets the support they need.”

Funding to support the work has been received from the government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative.