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£300k project will help rough sleepers and prevent people becoming homeless

PUBLISHED: 11:35 14 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:19 14 July 2019

East Suffolk Council is to use a £300k government grant to help rough sleepers Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

East Suffolk Council is to use a £300k government grant to help rough sleepers Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

Julie Skone

Emergency beds for rough sleepers are to be provided in two Suffolk towns as part of a Government-funded £300,000 project to cut the number of vulnerable people on the streets.

Felixstowe and Lowestoft will have emergency beds  Picture: THINKSTOCKFelixstowe and Lowestoft will have emergency beds Picture: THINKSTOCK

East Suffolk Council is to commission the beds in Felixstowe and Lowestoft along with 24-hour staffing cover.

The project called Somewhere Safe to Stay will use up more than £170,000 of the grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), while £121,000 will be spent on work to get the people concerned into move-on accommodation in both the private and social housing sector, and ensure they have access to a range of services.

The emergency bed spaces will provide somewhere to stay for 72 hours to enable rapid assessment and to support the people affected to get the right help quickly.

The council has agreed in principle with both Notting Hill Genesis Housing Association and Access Community Trust (ACT) to provide nine emergency bed spaces.

There will be a Short Term Emergency Satellite Bed at Buregate Road, Felixstowe, and eight provided through ACT in Lowestoft. The Thin Ice Project (Enhanced Severe Weather Accommodation) has provided a springboard to develop these services all year round.

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The funding will also provide for specialist hub workers.

Meanwhile, it is intended that Supported Lettings Officers will be employed directly by East Suffolk Council.

Cabinet member for housing Richard Kerry said: "Services users will need to be moved on into alternative accommodation. This is likely to be either supported accommodation, the council's own procured temporary accommodation, or longer term tenancies in the private rented or social housing sector.

"In reality landlords can view this client group as 'risky' and it is hoped that this risk will be mitigated by the dedicated intensive tenancy support."

The government is aiming to halve the number of people sleeping rough by 2022.

Mr Kerry said: "The council already works in partnership with a number of statutory and third sector service providers, identifying and responding to groups who are at risk of homelessness.

"There are nevertheless still key pressure points and gaps within our local partnerships and service provisions. Partnership working will continue to be a critical success factor if the council is to stop the revolving door of service entry/exit across all of these statutory and third sector services."

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