22 Dec 2016

Housing and Planning

Bristol awarded over £2.5million for new approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

A new programme to develop innovative ways to prevent homeless and rough sleeping across Bristol has been awarded over £2,500,000,Prime Minister Theresa May and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid have announced.

Bristol City council is one of 28 new ‘trailblazer’ areas across the country being funded as part of the £50 million programme aimed at preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “Bristol is facing high levels of homelessness and we are working hard to convene many partners around the issue. We are pleased to be part of DCLG’s prevention programme and will use the funding to pilot new ways of reaching out to households that are most at risk of homelessness. By intervening earlier and building resilience we should be more able to prevent homelessness. This includes offering help around income and employment, along with addressing early warning signs.

“Additional funding will also help us support existing and entrenched rough sleepers with faster assessments and targeted work to help people off the streets. This will help us reduce the high social and financial costs of homelessness. It is a complex issue and I hope that we can develop our relationship with the government to address many other contributing factors as well. With some targeted support and empowering of local government we could make really meaningful progress to improve people’s lives.”


The Bristol ‘trailblazer’ programme will focus on households most at risk of homelessness if their private rented sector tenancy comes to an end. The programme will:

  • Establish an intervention team to work with households most at risk to assess their financial resilience and establish whether there’s an underlying need for employment support, family worker support, or housing advice; and also signpost them to voluntary sector services where other specialist advice and support can also be offered

     

  • Employ Case Coordinators to meet with the family early on and plan actions that the family and agencies will take to sustain their tenancy by tackling the causes of breakdown, such as rent arrears, anti social behaviour, mental health issues, substance and alcohol misuse.

  • Offer resilience training to groups at risk using a customised model of their successful ‘Roof Over My Head’ course, developed for those in temporary accommodation, to reach groups likely to be affected by homelessness in the future.

 

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “As we make this a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few – we need to look at why people are on the streets, what has gone wrong in their lives and how we can best help them. We need to put prevention first and find solutions for families and individuals before they end up sleeping rough.

“That’s why I welcome the work by Bristol City Council to identify people with an increased risk of homelessness. By taking early action and intervening where people may need additional housing and employment advice we can provide the necessary support to prevent them spending a night on the streets.”

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This Government is committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society and ensuring our country works for everyone.

 “That’s why we are changing the way we tackle homelessness and supporting ambitious programmes, such as those developed by Bristol council to reduce the number of people of people facing a homelessness crisis in the first place.” 

It is estimated that this focus on early intervention will result in significant cost savings for the authority, particularly in expenditure on temporary accommodation.

 

In addition to the ‘trailblazer ‘funding, Bristol City Council is also receiving over £380,000 to adopt a No First Night Out (NFNO) model to address rough sleeping in the city.

 

Through this model, rough sleepers will be offered:

 

  • A rapid assessment service 5-11pm, 365 days/year, to assess people either by phone, online or at specific drop-in centres

  • An in-depth assessment and a single service offer to map their path to recovery; and

  • Stable accommodation, as part of the wider shelter programme to house clients before making the next step away from the streets. 

In addition, BCC will also receive up to £1,251,000 of funding to run a Social Impact Bond to drive innovative local approaches to support entrenched rough sleepers with the most complex needs.

The funding comes from the new £50 million programme to provide an innovative approach to tackling homelessness, announced by Prime Minister Theresa May and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid in October.

The new programme builds on the Government’s commitment to preventing homelessness, which includes:

  • increasing central funding to tackle homelessness over the next 4 years to £149 million

  • protecting homelessness prevention funding for local authorities at £315 million by 2019 to 2020; and

  • providing £100 million for at least 2,000 low cost accommodation places, for rough sleepers leaving hostel accommodation and domestic abuse victims and their families moving on from refuges.