£1m boost to help tackle homelessness

Telford & Wrekin Council has been awarded more than £1million to help the local authority provide long term support and accommodation to entrenched rough sleepers.

£1m boost to help tackle homelessness

The grant of £1,076,653 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s ‘Next Steps Accommodation Programme’ will pay for the purchase of 13 empty or disused properties across the borough. It will also fund the employment of an additional three Tenancy Sustainment Officers.

The properties, to be known as “Housing First”, will provide rough sleepers with their own accommodation with a minimum 12 month tenancy.

The Tenancy Sustainment Officers to be employed by Telford & Wrekin Council will provide intensive support to those “Housing First” tenants and help other homeless people who are in emergency accommodation find long term tenancies and settle into their new homes. Telford & Wrekin Council will also collaborate with The Wrekin Housing Group on this initiative. 

Councillor David Wright, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “At the start of this pandemic, we, together with partner charities Stay, Maninplace and KiP@Maninplace met every working weekday as part of the COVID Rough Sleeping Taskforce to discuss the needs of people reported to us as rough sleepers.

“We offered them emergency accommodation through the Maninplace ‘Night Inn Service’, STAY housing provision or by using local hotels and B&Bs. 

“It’s our mission to achieve ‘Everybody in For Good’ and this can only be done by providing them, not only with longer term accommodation, but the support they need to help them keep their home.

“Many of the rough sleepers who need our help have complex issues including mental health and clinical problems that make it difficult for them to source and maintain tenancies within the wider housing market. Some stay in emergency accommodation for longer periods of time. Some clients who have found their own accommodation, often in houses of multiple occupation, struggle to cope and either vacate the accommodation or are evicted. Many of them then return to the streets or sofa surf.

“They need stability and a place to call home. This is where the ‘Housing First’ accommodation will come in. They also need support to help them settle in and integrate with their neighbours and community. This is will be provided by the Tenancy Sustainment Officers.

“At the start of lockdown, we offered emergency accommodation for every reported rough sleeper. We now want to keep it that way. This funding will help us achieve sustainable accommodation for those entrenched rough. We will continue to bid for any other available grants to make sure there is no return to rough sleeping in Telford and Wrekin.”

Supporting by Reporting

If you see anyone rough sleeping in Telford and Wrekin, call our Housing Hotline 01952 381925. This service is available for anyone who is in need of help or advice. The hotline is also available for people to support the homeless by reporting an issue.

A call to the hotline about a rough sleeper will result in a visit to the reported location by an outreach worker who will check on their welfare and offer help to house them immediately and in the longer term.