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Council welcomes funding boost to help support rough sleeper work across the district

15 June 2018

Mendip District Council along with other authorities in the South West has received a funding boost to enhance the work that the council does to prevent homelessness and tackle rough sleeping.

Money - £1 coins

In an announcement from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government earlier this week, Mendip District Council will receive £150,000, it's expected that the council will receive the money in early July.

Mendip's housing services team bid for the money through the Rough Sleepers Initiative Fund. As part of the bid the council outlined its plans to use the funding to recruit a full time rough sleeper coordinator to work with its partner agencies Mendip YMCA and Elim Connect Centre, developing individual support plans for each rough sleeper they come into contact with.

These plans will be designed to tackle each rough sleeper's personal needs, encouraging them into housing and helping them into education or employment, as well as providing support on any additional issues such as drug or alcohol addiction. A large percentage of rough sleepers in the Mendip area come from other areas and so, in these instances, funding will be used to safely reconnect people to their home area.

And it will pay to ensure the council's Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), which kicks in during times of extreme cold. During future SWEP activations, the council and its partners can work intensively with rough sleepers to try and put in place measures that will prevent them returning to the streets.

Cllr Nigel Woollcombe-Adams, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Growth and Housing Services at Mendip District Council, said: "There is no easy answer when it comes to rough sleeping, it's a very complex issue and as a council we have already done a great amount of work with partner agencies to tackle rough sleeping in Mendip.

"As a rural district it's easy for people to assume that we do not have a problem, as its less visible than in nearby built up towns. This however only makes the problem harder to deal with, our offices have to take a great deal of time to make contact with rough sleepers, often hidden out of sight in our rural landscape. It then takes time to build relationships and trust to bring rough sleepers in a rural setting back into the community to get the support and advice that they need.

"The funding is a real boost to the work that is already underway in Mendip, it will enable us to provide extra resources to ensure that we have a consistent multi agency approach across the area."

If you are concerned that someone is rough sleeping in Mendip visit www.streetlink.org.uk it takes just a minute to make a referral. Alternatively you can make a referral by phoning StreetLink on 0300 500 0914. This will ensure that rough sleepers in Mendip are connected to the local services and support available to them.

For more information on the support available please visit www.mendip.gov.uk/roughsleeping

Last modified: 15 June 2018