Charities to benefit from support for rough sleepers during pandemic

  • Funding for frontline charities providing support to rough sleepers
  • Over 130 charities set to benefit from £6m following a successful bidding process
  • Investment builds on ongoing work to support rough sleepers into long-term accommodation, with more than 15,000 helped off streets during pandemic

Charities supporting vulnerable rough sleepers will be able to continue their vital work, backed by £6m of government funding, Homelessness Minister Luke Hall has announced today (Sunday 7 June).

A total of 132 charities across England will have access to the funding meaning they can continue to support those experiencing homelessness during coronavirus and beyond. This includes providing beds for those who need it as well as the specialist physical and mental health help they need to recover from life on the streets.

The funding is part of a £750m package of government support for UK charities who may have been impacted by the pandemic, £360m of which is dedicated to offering a lifeline to charities working to end homelessness.

Successful bids include:

Encompass Southwest – who support rough sleepers with some of the most complex needs in North Devon, as well as young people aged 14 to 21 who are at risk of rough sleeping or homelessness.

Helping Hands Community Project in Warwick – who support people experiencing homelessness, including victims of domestic violence, by offering a range of essential services from hot meals to advice and support sessions. It also upskills people through volunteer placements in its charity shop and café.

Stonewall Housing in East London – who work directly with LGBT+ homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.

Young Women’s Housing Project in Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber – who provide safe supported accommodation and therapeutic support to young women aged 16-25 and their children, who have been affected by sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) and peer/intimate partner abuse.

Coffee4Craig in Manchester – who provide vital support for rough sleepers and people in crisis. The Manchester drop-in is an evening and weekend service, offering hot meals, showers, medical support and more.

This announcement builds on the recent government commitment to provide thousands of long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during the pandemic. This is backed by £160 million this year and will support many of the thousands of rough sleepers currently housed in emergency accommodation to move on to more sustainable, long-term housing.

Homelessness Minister Luke Hall said:

The staggering effort between councils and charities across the country has ensured that over 90 percent of rough sleepers known to councils at the start of the pandemic have been offered safe accommodation. This work has helped to protect thousands of lives.

This money will help charities continue to support these people and ensure they are getting everything they need to prevent them from returning to a life on the streets so they can rebuild their lives once and for all.

To ensure that the funds were shared fairly, the process was managed independently by Homeless Link.

Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, added:

Homelessness charities that many vulnerable people rely upon have continued to provide invaluable support, despite being hard hit by the current public health crisis.

This emergency funding will enable them to keep running their vital services, from specialist support for women, those experiencing domestic violence and young people, to providing hot meals or upskilling people experiencing homelessness – to name just a few.

The government’s plans to support rough sleepers during the pandemic are being spearheaded by the Rough Sleeping Taskforce – led by Dame Louise Casey – which will bring together partners and businesses in order to use the coronavirus crisis and current successful work so far in bringing ‘everyone in’ as a catalyst towards ending rough sleeping for good.

As part of this commitment, Homes England, in partnership with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has pledged to work hand-in-hand with leading housing associations and local authorities to fast-track thousands of units of longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers needed now.

The funding will also be used to provide the specialist staff former rough sleepers need. This includes those who can support their mental health or substance abuse problems, helping people rebuild their lives, move towards training and work, and remain off the streets for good.

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