WORK to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping in Cambridge is set to be boosted by a series of grants from Cambridge City Council, and a new collaborative approach to tackling homelessness between the city and county councils.
In total £324,000 will be provided in Homelessness Prevention Grants to a variety of voluntary, community and local authority groups working on a number of projects in Cambridge, subject to approval of the council’s budget in February.
The groups set to receive funding for 2022-23 are:
Cambridge and District Citizens Advice Bureau for support, advice and representation around housing and debt
Cambridge Cyrenians to provide support for single people over 45 to access and maintain accommodation, and to provide accommodation for 104 people
CHS Group for employment and coaching advice for homeless and vulnerably housed people and supported housing for young homeless parents
Cambridge Women’s Aid to support victims of domestic abuse including providing safe accommodation to women and their children
Cambridgeshire Community Foundation to support the work of the Cambridge Street Aid charitable fund
Cambridgeshire County Council Counting Every Adult Team to provide coordination and support for homeless adults with enduring and multiple needs
Centre 33 for a homeless and housing support project for people aged 13-25
It Takes A City, including to provide coordination of community-wide groups and initiatives to develop new solutions to homelessness; provide support for rough sleepers in private accommodation; and provide accommodation for winter emergency accommodation
Jimmy’s Cambridge to provide support for residents of 22 modular homes
Wintercomfort for the Homeless for an employment and learning service and a social inclusion service
The report outlining the proposed grants, which was discussed by Housing Scrutiny Committee on 20 January, also recommended that in future these grants will be funded from a government homelessness prevention grant allowing a new ‘Streets to Home’ service to be funded from core council budgets. This will also enable the council to secure the positions of existing housing staff, who provide critical services to those experiencing homelessness.
Once a contract is awarded to deliver the new Streets to Home service, it will be a collaboration between Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council, and will provide a more cohesive approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness in Cambridge and providing better outcomes for users of the service.
It will address the reality that people affected by homelessness often have a range of personal issues and needs that are more complex than simply being in need of accommodation.
The new service will complement ongoing innovative work such as the ‘Housing First’ approach to providing alternative accommodation to hostels; establishing modular homes for former rough sleepers on sites around the city; and providing shared supported accommodation in council homes.
In addition, it will build on new ways of partnership working with a wide range of charities and voluntary groups that have been established to help rough sleepers in Cambridge since the start of the pandemic.
The cornerstones of the Streets to Home service will be to reduce the number of people on the streets and increase the number of people with the right support to enable them to live in their own secure accommodation. This will be achieved by ensuring each individual:
- Is assigned a lead professional to support them on their journey out of homelessness
- Has flexible, personal support for as long as is needed, designed with their input
- Is supported to attain and sustain their tenancy
- Has access to specialist support when needed e.g. to address drug or alcohol dependency.
Funding for the service would be provided using existing city council and county council budgets used to alleviate rough sleeping and homelessness, and to provide the support people need to start to make positive changes to their lives.
Cllr Mike Todd-Jones, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “The grants set to be provided are a reflection of the ongoing efforts across Cambridge to reduce the number of people rough sleeping or homeless, and demonstrate that tackling this issue continues to be one of the council’s over-riding priorities.
“Looking ahead, the proposed new Streets to Home service will provide a new focus and impetus for the great work being done by so many groups across Cambridge, in conjunction with the city and county councils.
“It should lead to a more coordinated approach, with less duplicated effort by different groups – and most importantly lead to better, longer-lasting solutions for the vulnerable people in our city with many complex issues, who are affected by rough sleeping, homelessness or the threat of homelessness.”