Woking Borough Council, in partnership with the York Road Project, has been awarded a grant of £228,500 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to deliver enhanced homelessness and rough sleeping services around the borough. The successful bid is the second highest allocation awarded to a Surrey local authority.
This significant sum will be instrumental in strengthening established local resources, most notably enabling the recruitment of additional specialist posts, which will focus on the support required to alleviate the increasing complex needs of homeless people and rough sleepers. In addition it will assist the delivery of staff training, enhanced partnership work and other intervention strategies.
Detailed local research conducted by the Council in 2019 to inform its Homelessness Review and ongoing feedback from partners and outreach support workers, identifies the common reasons why people end up on the streets in Woking. Leading issues include mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, tenancy terminations, rent arrears, relationship and family breakdowns.
On receipt of the good news, Cllr Debbie Harlow, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “Woking has a well-known track record for its successful partnership work with the York Road Project and other local agencies.
“The additional funding will assist the Council in meeting the Government’s ambition to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eradicate it by 2027. This will be achieved by providing the much needed resources required to deliver a more holistic approach to an individual’s wider wellbeing, enhanced outreach work, support and mentoring, valuable staff training and landlord incentive initiatives to provide quality settled homes.
“This timely news bolsters the Council’s long term vision for enhanced homelessness services as it prepares to present its draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020 to 2024 to the Executive on Thursday 6 February.”
Speaking on behalf of the York Road Project, Chief Executive, Cath Stamper said: “The funding will enhance the services provided by York Road Project in partnership with Woking Borough Council. We will be able to ensure people experiencing homelessness in the borough receive appropriate and skilled support as quickly as possible.”
The Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, launched in 2018, offers local councils a share of £112 million to provide vital services for those living on the streets.