AN extra £1.2million of government funding will help ensure no-one has to sleep rough in Leicester, despite unprecedented challenges for homelessness services.
Leicester City Council has successfully bid for £1,238,470 of additional funding from the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) to support a range of local initiatives for people who are rough sleeping or at risk of becoming homeless.
The new funding will be in addition to city council’s annual budget of £5.5million to support local homeless prevention services in 2021/22.
Extra funding has been awarded for the continuation of specialist support and accommodation for rough sleepers with complex needs provided by Action Homeless at Flora Lodge. This centre provides 12 rooms and wraparound healthcare services as part of the Protect programme. The overall programme will receive an additional £325,000 of annual funding for accommodation, healthcare services, specialist staff and peer support.
Homelessness outreach services were extended during the pandemic with teams operating morning and evenings, seven days a week. The additional funding means that this extended service will continue for the next 12 months. More staff will also be available to help the most entrenched rough sleepers navigate and access the help and support they need through local charities and other organisations.
A new education and employment programme aimed at supporting homeless and vulnerably housed people is also due to launch this summer, backed by £25,000 of RSI funding.
The additional funding will also extend some of the extra support and emergency accommodation introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with almost £300,000 of funding to provide 69 self-contained flats or rooms in shared houses for the next 12 months.
Assistant city mayor Cllr Elly Cutkelvin said: “This additional funding will be a huge boost to our ongoing commitment and efforts to ensure that nobody has to sleep rough in Leicester.
“Our officers and partner charities have been working flat out throughout the pandemic to ensure that there is more than enough safe accommodation for anyone at risk of homelessness.
“The unprecedented challenges that we’ve faced haven’t gone away but we are now able to focus on supporting people to maintain long-term, secure accommodation while still ensuring that services are in place for anyone at risk of sleeping rough. Local intelligence shows that the number of people sleeping rough Leicester remains at an all time low.
“I am very proud of what has have achieved during an extremely challenging year. The award of over £1.2million of new funding is a testament to the vision and commitment that our incredible staff and local charities have shown in tackling homelessness in a sensitive and innovative way.”
Almost 1,000 people in Leicester have been provided with emergency accommodation and additional support in the 13 months since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Leicester City Council received additional government funding of £567,000 in 2020/21. The successful bid for 2021/22 is more than double that amount.
The best way to support anyone that might be sleeping rough in the city is to report their location so they get the support they need. An easy way to do this is to contact StreetLink.
StreetLink is a website, mobile app and phone-line that helps people to alert local councils to rough sleepers so they can get the support they need. You can make contact via www.streetlink.org.uk, by downloading the free app, or by calling 0300 500 0914
Anyone who is homeless, or worried about someone else who is, can also call Leicester City Council’s emergency homelessness line at any time on 0116 221 2770.