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Bristol receives government funding to help reduce homelessness

Services available to homeless people in the city are set to be given a boost following a successful government funding bid.

Bristol City Council has received almost £600,000 to improve front line support given to people rough sleeping or those at risk of homelessness.

Bristol is one of 83 areas that will share £30 million to enhance the immediate support available to people living on the streets and help them into accommodation.

It is proposed that the funding would be used to allow the council to open an additional winter night shelter, which would be open 24-hours a day. The building would provide basic shelter accommodation and access to multi-agency drop in facilities, as well as food provision and activities provided by faith based organisations involved in the Bristol Shelter Programme.

Proposals for how the remaining money secured by Bristol City Council could be spent also include:

  • A multi-agency move-on team to work with Pathway clients to help them to move in to longer term accommodation, freeing up places for rough sleeper referrals.
  • Targeted specialist psychological support for high needs clients.
  • Extending the Golden Key Housing First programme with an additional 10 units of accommodation.
  • Working with prison leavers to prevent them from ending up on the streets and coordination of all services linked to prison release.

Councils across England with the highest numbers of people sleeping rough will be receiving funding to significantly increase the support they are able to offer people now and also those at risk this coming winter.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “There has been a significant rise in rough sleeping in Bristol and across the country in recent years, and we remain committed to doing everything we can to reverse that trend.

“We are already running a number of initiatives to reduce rough sleeping and wider homelessness in the city, but additional resources are needed to make a significant reduction in the number of people forced to live on the streets.

“Bristol lacks suitable day centre access, so we are particularly keen to provide a new shelter where people can access support and other facilities during the hours traditional shelters are closed.”

Councils will be supported by the government’s new Rough Sleeping Initiative Team consisting of experts from the sector with a proven track record of successfully helping rough sleepers and preventing those at risk from becoming homeless.

A final decision to approve the spend of the grant money will be taken at Cabinet on July 3.