Near £1m awarded to charities to help rough sleepers

The grant from the government’s Cold Weather Fund will be split between frontline homelessness charities across the UK.

Homeless person sleeping in a pedestrian tunnel

Homeless Link, the homelessness sector’s membership body, has awarded grants totalling £991,509 from the government’s Cold Weather Fund to 51 frontline charities across the country, with aims to support as many people as possible sleeping rough this winter.

The funding is being distributed to specialist local charities that are not commissioned by local authorities but play a “key role” in helping to end rough sleeping in their communities.

Individual grants were for up to £25,000, with three large grants of up to £50,000 for projects working across multiple local authorities.

The charities are using the grants to provide additional accommodation to people sleeping rough between 1st December 2019 and 31st March 2020, or to enhance the support offered in existing winter night shelters or day services to help secure longer-term move-on from homelessness into accommodation.

Projects include support services for marginalised groups, including vulnerable women, people who identify as LGBT+, couples, and pet owners.

One project will develop mentoring relationships for women and those experiencing multiple disadvantage, and another will fast-track people sleeping rough into private-rented accommodation, with financial and personal support.

The funding will also help extend the hours of existing services, open new night shelters and warm spaces offering facilities and support during the day time, and employ extra street outreach or support workers.

As announced by Homeless Link, all projects are operating in line with the principles of best practice:

  • Shelter is immediately available, including to people who are not usually eligible for services, e.g. those with no recourse to public funds
  • People are ‘In for Good’ – once a person is supported to access shelter they are not asked to leave until a support plan is in place to end their rough sleeping
  • Sustainable routes off the street into longer-term accommodation offered
  • Partnership working occurs with existing services to enhance, not duplicate, provision

Rick Henderson, CEO of Homeless Link, said: “Winter is a particularly dangerous time to be sleeping rough, and it is essential that targeted support is provided to ensure that as many people as possible are helped off the streets and supported to move on from homelessness for good.

“We are very pleased to offer grants from the government’s Cold Weather Fund to a large range of charities that we know play a vital role in reducing rough sleeping locally, but who do not get funding from their local authorities.

“Their projects will address specific needs within their communities, improving the support available during the cold weather, and particularly catering for marginalised groups who may typically struggle to access services.”

Homelessness Minister Luke Hall MP added: “The Cold Weather Fund has meant that local authorities and charities can help vulnerable people get the support they need when they need it most – as temperatures plummet and life on the streets gets harder.

“Due to the success Homeless Link achieved across their two rounds of funding, I allocated additional funding beyond the original £900,000 to ensure more people were able to access life-saving support.

“Last year, the number of people sleeping rough fell for the first time in several years. However, we know there is a great deal more to do.

“As Minister for Homelessness, I will give my utmost to meet our commitment to eliminate rough sleeping by the end of the Parliament.”

The full list of the organisations awarded grants from the Cold Weather Fund can be found here.

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