Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government has awarded Wokingham Borough Council £91,000 to help tackle rough sleeping in the borough.
The funds, which follow on the back of the council’s new strategy to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, will allow the council to set up a street outreach programme to provide support for rough sleepers in the borough.
The new programme will provide a holistic first line of support to rough sleepers, with outreach workers on the streets to identify rough sleepers and provide them with accommodation where appropriate, signposting access to health professionals, benefits advisors and any necessary drug/alcohol dependency support. The outreach workers will provide links to the next level of support.
The council will commission a voluntary sector partner with expertise in tackling rough sleeping to partner on this project. The new service will build on the excellent work already being carried out by voluntary sector partners and other organisations in the borough.
The council identified ten rough sleepers in the borough in November 2019 as part of an annual estimate and understands there may be more.
Further support for rough sleepers in the borough is the pilot of a night shelter, running in January and February 2020. The shelter, being run by Pilgrim Hearts, is accessed through the council’s housing team and other organisations (contact information below) and is located at a number of churches across Wokingham town.
“Having a home should be a basic human right. That’s why we at the council prioritise so highly tackling homelessness and ending rough sleeping.” said John Kaiser, executive member for finance and housing. “Homelessness can have long term consequences for those affected. As a result, reducing homelessness and rough sleeping is a key priority for the council.
“Receiving this award is excellent news! It will help fund our new rough sleeping initiative for a full year and we will have the opportunity to apply again for next year.
“The impacts of homelessness can be devastating for individuals and families. Homelessness can affect everything -- health, education and employment. This programme is another step towards ending rough sleeping and homelessness in Wokingham borough.”
For information on how to get advice if you or someone you know is or may become homeless, visit our website at www.wokingham.gov.uk and search ‘homelessness’.
To contact the council for help on homelessness, phone 0118 974 6000 during office hours or 01344 786 543 after hours, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the council offices at Shute End, Wokingham.
If you are aware of someone sleeping rough in the borough, let the council know by sending an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide will be sent to the council, who will use the information to find the individual, offer them support, and explore ways to find them accommodation.