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Colchester welcomes further funding to support rough sleepers

Rough Sleeper

Following the £192,000 received earlier this year, Colchester has provisionally been awarded an additional £204,753 of Government funding to support its work in reducing the amount of people sleeping rough in the borough.

This additional funding, from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Rough Sleeping Initiative Fund, is dependent on the successful implementation of the initial interventions

The funding is being used to help identify gaps in the services offered, prevent and help people who are rough sleeping back into accommodation, and develop a more joined up early intervention service.

The funding will help develop a 'Housing First' approach, which provides housing 'first', as a matter of right and to provide a stable platform from which other issues can be addressed, and wider support accessed.

A number of practical improvements have already been completed and a number of plans are in place to improve available support. This includes:

Increased bed spaces and support staff capacity at Colchester Night Shelter is currently being agreed, specifically for Colchester people at risk of rough sleeping. 

Outreach Workers - new posts will be created to provide more out of hours assertive outreach services.

Severe Weather Emergency Protocol - new provision to provide continuous severe weather extended winter provision accommodation and support from Autumn to early spring, with specialist support staff to move people on to the next step once the provision ends.

The additional funding will also enable Colchester to extend the Early Response Rough Sleeper Co-ordinator* post. The coordinator was appointed in October 2017 works with all partnership agencies and rough sleepers themselves. The organisations engage with rough sleepers to treat each person as an individual to directly address their needs and provide support.

Councillor Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: "We are extremely pleased to secure this additional funding, which will continue our work to address rough sleeping in Colchester.

"The reasons why people find themselves in a vulnerable position are usually extremely complex. We believe people should be treated as individuals and have the opportunity to access a package of support from appropriate agencies.

"Everyone has a role to play in tackling rough sleeping- with public support we can improve lives and make a Better Colchester for everybody. If you see a rough sleeper and are concerned for their welfare, you can report them directly to support services who can help them via street link."

Street Link is a website, mobile app and phone-line available across England and Wales which enables the public to alert local authorities about rough sleepers in their area. 

This service offers the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough in the borough and is the first step someone can take to ensure rough sleepers are connected to the local services and support.

If you see someone sleeping rough, visit www.streetlink.org.uk download the free mobile app for Apple and Android, or call 0300 500 0914.

*Find out more about a day in the life of the Early Response Rough Sleeper Coordinator here: https://www.colchester.gov.uk/info/cbc-article/?catid=a-day-in-the-life-of&id=KA-01629

For further information on CBC and CBH's work to address rough sleeping visit: http://www.cbhomes.org.uk/article/22088/Working-Together-to-Reduce-Rough-Sleeping-and-Improve-Community-Safety

Better Colchester is a dynamic two-year action plan to help deliver the aims and objectives of the council's overarching strategic plan. Around £2 million has been set aside to deliver proposals that will make Colchester an even better place to live, work in and visit. Find out more at www.colchester.gov.uk/bettercolchester