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Funding boost for rough sleepers in Cambridge

News release from 28/01/2020

CAMBRIDGE City Council and its partner agencies are enhancing the network of innovative services to end rough sleeping in Cambridge, following a successful funding bid.

The funding of £486,457 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) will enable existing services for rough sleepers to be extended and new services to be launched from April.

The council and its partner agencies will be creating nine new posts for 2020/21 to help support current and former rough sleepers, as well as extending a further seven posts to March 2021.

The posts will help support current and former rough sleepers in 34 new self-contained, clustered and shared units of accommodation – including new modular homes earmarked for people with a history of homelessness. The new homes will complement the recently approved accommodation that is being built as a partnership between developers Allia and the homelessness charity Jimmy’s.

Cambridge-based initiatives will benefit in a number of ways, including:

  • Extra funding to boost the Cambridge Street Outreach Team’s efforts in supporting rough sleepers to access accommodation and health services;
  • Funding for targeted street-based health services relating to mental health, substance misuse and general welfare;
  • Funding to support former rough sleepers in new tenancies, in line with the council’s Housing First strategy;
  • The expansion of Townhall Lettings, the social lettings agency set up by the council to provide good-quality shared housing for single homeless people;
  • The creation of an innovative new ‘skills share and mentoring’ scheme to help connect rough sleepers and former rough sleepers with the wider community.

The new funding complements the £750,000 fund earmarked by the council for the purpose of homelessness prevention and relief in 2020/21. Further details about how this will be allocated will be released next month.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “The council is resolutely determined to tackle homelessness, as well as its causes. These causes can be complex and vary in their nature. Our existing work reflects this, with a range of initiatives in place such as Housing First tenancies, and specific support for people who have drug or alcohol dependency and mental health issues.

“The funding that we have won from central government will help continue this vital work, as well as rolling out new and innovative projects.”

There are many ways residents can help rough sleepers including by donating to charity, volunteering their time, providing employment opportunities for former rough sleepers, or even letting their homes or spare rooms out through Townhall Lettings.

However, there are three things that Cambridge residents can do to help in particular:

  1. Report if someone is sleeping rough via Streetlink by calling 0300 500 0914 or visiting streetlink.org.uk
  2. Donate to Cambridge Street Aid, the charitable fund helping people to get off, and stay off, the streets. This can be done via one of the many contactless giving points in the city or via the online giving page: justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/cambridgeshirecommunity/csa
  3. Visit the new Street Support website for further details of the services operating in the city: https://streetsupport.net/cambridge/