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Council secures almost £1m to continue rough sleeper prevention

Work to reduce and end rough sleeping locally continues as St Helens Borough Council secures almost £1m from Government's Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) Fund.

St Helens

The Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) invited councils to apply to the Rough Sleeper Initiative 2022-2025 fund by February this year. A submission for three years' funding was co-produced by St Helens Borough Council and DLUHC focused on prevention, intervention, recovery and systems support. 

The council secured £967,000 from the RSI fund to continue its rough sleeper provision and to deliver new initiatives during 2022-2025. 

Among the new initiatives is the creation of a Rough Sleeper Proactive Prevention Measures Officer post, funded for three years. This officer will engage with the wider system to ensure other council services and partner agencies like hospitals and prisons identify the risk of homelessness and rough sleeping and build in safeguards at the earliest point to prevent it. 

And to ensure that services can recognise and respond to the trauma that rough sleepers may have experienced earlier in their lives, the funding will enable whole system training on trauma and psychologically informed practice. 

Earlier RSI funding was used to develop a range of officer roles, services and a whole system change with Complex Cares led by Public Health, enhancing joined up delivery of support for people with complex and multiple needs. These are people caught in a cycle of rough sleeping, hostel and temporary accommodation, poor mental and physical health and offending behaviour, often underpinned by trauma. This new grant will fund staffing to coordinate existing homeless health services to better support people at a difficult time in their lives. 

Between October 2020 to March 2022, thanks to delivery of services supported by earlier RSI funding, the number of people found rough sleeping reduced from 14 to eight people found in a month. Each person identified is immediately offered emergency accommodation and assessed the same day or next working day. 

One such success was a man in his 30s with complex needs and well known to homeless services in St Helens for over ten years. With the support of a local homeless hostel, the team worked with this individual to first get him into emergency accommodation and then to secure longer term accommodation. He continues to receive support from the Rough Sleeper Navigator and his support worker. He has successfully sustained a tenancy and is hoping to get a rehabilitation placement, and continues to engage with support and make progress in his recovery. 

With the cost of living crisis deepening and prevention at the heart of its homelessness response, the council has also reinforced its homelessness team to provide housing advice and help to residents at risk of losing their tenancies.

The council provides a homeless service to local families and individuals in need who present as homeless and will work to find long-term housing solutions, working with Registered Housing Providers and other partners to ensure residents are supported.

As a council and as a partnership with local housing and support providers, we are delivering real and lasting change for those at risk of rough sleeping and homelessness.  

"Securing such funding allows us to continue our constant trauma-informed outreach work, immediate response to get people off the streets, the expert support services we have in place and existing supported housing with The Salvation Army and the YMCA. And it grants us the resources to develop new support systems and roles that can work across local services to identify and prevent rough sleeping at the earliest stage.  

"In recent years we have been successful in reducing and preventing rough sleeping and homelessness, and with £967,000 secured in this new funding round - alongside the game-changing Champions Court development led by Torus, providing 28 brand new supported housing units - that work will continue."

Councillor Jeanie Bell, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities

If you are concerned about someone you have seen sleeping rough, you can alert local authority and outreach services online at streetlink.org.uk. 

If the person you are concerned about may be under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police on 999.