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Funding boost for county homelessness support services

Published: Friday, 21 September, 2018

Gloucestershire has been allocated an extra £271,980 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to expand a new service for entrenched homeless people.

The countywide partnership of local authorities including Stroud District Council and led by Gloucester City Council, has secured a boost to support an extra 16 vulnerable individuals with complex needs through the ‘social impact bond’ project, ACTion Glos, delivered by P3.

This service is aimed at those who have ‘fallen between the gaps’ previously or may have a history of using homelessness services without having their complex and challenging needs fully met. People are allocated a personal link worker who will support them on their journey to a more positive, settled and secure future.

ACTion Glos works alongside and complements existing services to offer more intensive and long-term support to these individuals. ACTion Glos supports people in Gloucestershire who have been rough sleeping or are long-term homeless, and face complex and overlapping barriers to accessing and staying in accommodation, such as drug/alcohol misuse, offending history, or mental ill health.

Since it launched in November 2017, 92 people in Gloucestershire have received support from ACTion Glos, with more people engaging with services and staying in accommodation as relationships develop and resources are acquired.

It’s already funded by 'social impact bond' (SIB) funding of £990,000, made available by Central Government as part of its Homelessness Prevention Programme in 2016. The extra funding brings a total of £1.27million to the service and will increase the number of places in the SIB from 110 to 126.

Ten people who are part of the SIB have volunteered to feed into research into homeless complex needs which will inform national best practice and future funding decisions.

Councillor Chas Townley, Stroud District Council housing committee chairman, said: “The person-centred Link Worker and Housing First approach being adopted by the partnership is a model which appears to be working well to get a particular group of people the specific help they need. For people with long-term and complex problems, it can be more effective than traditional approaches. As street homelessness is on the rise nationally, we’d be keen to expand it further in the district, if we can secure additional funding.”

Cllr Jennie Watkins, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Gloucester City Council, said, “Whilst we welcome the extra funding to support vulnerable people in the city and across the wider county, we can’t get complacent. Working closely with other authorities and partners is vital to making sure people get the support they need to stay off the streets for good.”

Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for long term care at Gloucestershire County Council, said: "This additional funding will provide essential support to those who need it most to break the cycle of repeat homelessness.

"Supporting homeless people in Gloucestershire is a responsibility that both the county council and district councils take very seriously. Our commitment to work together, and this additional funding, will mean we can really make a difference to some of the county's most vulnerable people."

Gemma Bukel, Director of Strategy and Innovation at P3, said, “We are very pleased to learn that additional funding will be available for our ACTion Glos service. This will allow us to work with more people over the long-term, to rebuild lives and reconnect people with their communities.”

What can you do to support a rough sleeper?

You can refer anyone you see who might be homeless to the local rough sleeping outreach team. Outreach will then find and engage with them, and help them access appropriate housing and support services (which could include ACTion Glos). This is easily done through the national referral tool, Streetlink – via the app, streetlink.org.uk, or 0300 500 0914 (open 24/7).

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