By Anne North
The government has given Cornwall an extra £625,000 to help tackle the problem of rough sleeping. Cornwall has long been one of the worst parts of the country for homelessness, and people living without a roof over their heads.
The extra cash has come from the government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative fund, following a bid by County Hall. Nearly 10,000 households approach Cornwall Council each year fearing they are at risk of homelessness.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for homes, councillor Andrew Mitchell, said: “Tackling rough sleeping is a complex issue, which is why the Council has already invested £1.1m in a Rough Sleeper Reduction Strategy.
“Having a coordinated, multi-agency approach to tackling rough sleeping is paying off with latest figures published in December 2018 showing that an action plan to tackle the issue is continuing to have a positive effect, with a 22% drop in the latest count.
This makes a 46% reduction in the total number of rough sleepers recorded since November 2016.”
Official figures released in December 2018 show that whilst Cornwall still has a high numbers of rough sleepers, 53 individuals were reported as rough sleeping compared to 68 reported in November 2017 and 99 the year prior to that.
Mr Mitchell continued: “This additional funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will allow us to put in place additional measures that will directly help take people off the streets, providing them with accommodation and support.”
The councils says the money will be used to fund:
- a coordinator and four outreach workers to directly engage with rough sleepers and offer them help and support
- the Short-term Accommodation & Resettlement (STAR) Project which provides short –term accommodation and then support to move on to live independently
- access to privately rented accommodation for single people by offering support to the landlord during the first few months of a tenancy to ensure it is sustainable
- Nos Da Kernow - a partnership between Cornwall Housing, Coastline and St Petroc’s to help prevent single people and couples with no children from becoming homeless
- a mental health worker, employed with partners as part of the Health for Homeless Project
- additional hospital discharge beds for single people who are medically fit for discharge but have no suitable accommodation to go to
Mr Mitchell said: “We will be able to offer more personalised and tailored solutions to rough sleepers. Our end goal is to ensure no one has to sleep rough in Cornwall.”