The government has given Croydon Council a £635,000 grant to continue its work to tackle and prevent homelessness through helping people into accommodation and providing health support.
Since lockdown the council has placed 468 homeless people, including 163 rough sleepers, into temporary accommodation, and has found long-term move-on into private supported housing for around half this total.
Now the council has received extra funding from the Next Steps Accommodation programme run by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), which aims to limit homelessness and long-term rough sleeping through councils that offer rapid and tailored move-on support.
The council has received £333,866 to house rough sleepers in emergency accommodation; £104,479 to employ four extra staff members to support rough sleepers to move on, £90,925 to offer rent in advance deposits so former rough sleepers get help into private rented housing; £70,000 to provide GP support; and £35,730 for mental health support.
This funding will include provision for a street population outreach worker to work alongside local partner organisations to get rough sleepers the help they need.
The grant announcement comes after the council reopened its 24-hour Somewhere Safe To Stay hub this week, which gets rough sleepers off the streets into secure accommodation, assesses their financial, medical and housing needs, and offers specialist housing and wraparound support to end their homelessness for good.
Delivered for the council by specialist homelessness charity Evolve Housing + Support with MHCLG funding support, the hub had to close in March because of the need to protect rough sleepers’ health during Covid-19 restrictions. Rough sleepers were instead placed in other temporary accommodation including hotels and bed and breakfasts while the wraparound care continued.
The hub, which usually has shared sleeping quarters, female-only shared bedrooms, a private room and a kitchen, has now reopened with self-contained space for five former rough sleepers so it meets social distancing requirements.
“This funding is vital because Croydon has a high number of rough sleepers and the economic impact of Covid-19 means that more people will need our help to stay off the streets in the months to come.
“The accommodation and wider support the council and our partners provide to tackle homelessness in Croydon is crucial, and we have been working hard to find move-on private supported housing for about half of those we have taken in since lockdown.
“We and our partners will continue to work to provide long-term wraparound financial, housing and medical support to help rough sleepers move into a place of their own and start a new independent chapter in their lives.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services