We have successfully secured a total of almost £1.2 million of Government funding to support our work in keeping rough sleepers from living on the streets and helping them to secure a place to live.
To date, the Council has bid for and received capital funding of around £850k that has been used to purchase four properties plus revenue funding of £335k to provide continued support through to March 2024.
We have partnered with Elim Housing to deliver these homes offering a total of 12 units of settled accommodation in shared houses (including three spaces for use by Bristol City Council). These homes are expected to be completed and occupied by the end of June.
We have also established a ‘Housing First’ scheme, with six tenancies available for those with the most complex housing needs. Curo deliver Housing First services in other areas of the country and worked closely with the Council to extend their skills and expertise within South Gloucestershire.
Both schemes focus on the successful resettlement and recovery of those who have a long and/or repeat history of rough sleeping and will make a significant contribution to the provision of supported housing for rough sleepers and single homeless people in South Gloucestershire.
In March 2020, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) announced ‘Everyone In’ – the provision of emergency housing during lockdown for all those sleeping rough or at risk of. The Council has continued with this provision voluntarily and it still remains in place. The Government has a commitment that no-one is returned to the streets following the success of the Everyone In programme. A separate Government target is to end rough sleeping by March 2024.
We have made 133 emergency placements in total since March 2020, 13 people are currently in temporary accommodation and around 50 per cent of the total placements have been assisted to access more permanent housing. This is in addition to the work that the Council does to support people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness, to access or maintain accommodation. In the last financial year, the Council has prevented or relieved homelessness for 727 households.
Cabinet Member for Adults and Housing Cllr Ben Stokes said: “We are delighted to receive this considerable funding which has enabled us to help more of those people who have been placed in temporary accommodation – either because they have been living on the streets or have been in danger of sleeping rough – and provide them with a pathway into more permanent homes.
“Our ambition is that none of those individuals return to sleeping rough and we have been working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, Homes England and two local housing providers; Elim Housing Association Ltd and Curo Group, to support that aim.”
Paul Smith, Chief Executive of Elim Housing, said: ‘’We are delighted to have secured funding from the Next Steps Accommodation Programme which will allow us to provide 12 new homes, with the potential to have a life changing impact on individual’s lives and future prospects.
“The new homes will become part of the pathway of supported accommodation Elim already provides in South Gloucestershire. We have been working in partnership with South Gloucestershire Council to deliver homelessness-related services for over ten years, and we are really pleased to further strengthen our offer and increase the opportunities available to support people with experience of homelessness.”
Jack Bailey, of Curo’s Building Independence Service, said: “We’re proud to be working with partners who share our passion for supporting people in the greatest housing need and reducing street homelessness. People can become homeless for a variety of reasons; when these are multiple and complex it can be hard to get back to normal. We work with people to help focus on the positives in their lives. We support them to move into a new home and then offer extra help when it’s needed. Housing First is a fantastic initiative that would not be possible without input from SGC and other housing and support providers across the area. It’s great to be making such a difference to people’s lives while reducing the number of people sleeping on the streets of South Gloucestershire.”
For more information about homelessness and housing in South Gloucestershire visit www.southglos.gov.uk/homelessness