Wakefield Council applies for £800,000 funding to tackle rough sleeping

Council bosses has applied for nearly £800,000 of grant funding to help rough sleepers in the district.

By Nick Frame
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 9:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 9:38 am

Wakefield Council's cabinet will discuss the application to fund nine new staff members to "intervene in, prevent and reduce rough sleeping".

It is hoped that they will secure the cash from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and its rough sleeping initiative (RSI).

They are looking to apply for a total of £798,414 to pay the workers and provide recovery services for the next three years.

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Referrals have risen sharply in recent years.

The report reads: "The Wakefield Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy commits the council to striving to eliminate rough sleeping in the district by building on and enhancing existing preventing rough sleeping services and offer anyone, verified as rough sleeping, an immediate accommodation alternative to allow them to come in off the streets and access the support and accommodation they need to live a less damaging lifestyle.

"RSI funding will allow the council and our partners to provide bespoke services to meet the complex needs of rough sleepers.

"This will improve the lives of rough sleepers (and support people to exit rough sleeping) through the provision for appropriate short-term accommodation, improved ‘move on’ accommodation pathways and improved pathways into recovery services.

"We are ambitious about transforming RSI services over the next three years to move away from immediate response and towards a sustainable long-term programme of recovery and prevention."

First introduced in 2018, the council has already benefited from two rounds of RSI funding totalling more than £558,000.

The cash has paid for several new staff members at various services in the district dedicated to helping rough sleeping, including the Riverside Group Ltd, Informal Learning Ltd and Spectrum Community Health C.I.C.

The number of referrals made to Wakefield Council has increased dramatically in recent years, which council chiefs have put down to the government's ‘everyone in’ approach which required all local authorities to provide accommodation to all rough sleepers.

This was in response to the Covid pandemic, and local authorities were required to accommodate all rough sleepers irrelevant of statutory duties including those not eligible for statutory homelessness assistance.

For example, the number of referrals in July 2019 was less than 10, whereas it reached 60 in July of 2021.

The report into the funding application will be discussed by the council's cabinet next Tuesday, March 12.