Government launches £266 million housing fund for vulnerable people

Next Steps Accommodation Programme announced to make resources available to councils to help ensure 15,000 people continue to have a safe place to stay.

The government’s plans to help ensure some of the most vulnerable people in society continue to have a roof over their heads and are helped into long term accommodation has launched. From 18 July 2020, councils and their local partners can apply for funds from the government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme to cover property costs and support new tenancies for around 15,000 vulnerable people who were provided with emergency accommodation during the pandemic.

This programme now takes total government support for homelessness and rough sleepers to over half a billion pounds. This will help ensure as few people as possible helped off the streets and into accommodation during the pandemic return to sleeping rough and help to break the cycle of homelessness for good.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Luke Hall MP said, “There has been a colossal effort from our councils, charities and partners to provide a protective shield for the most vulnerable during this pandemic.

Their efforts must not be in vain and today’s release of funding will make a huge difference by preventing thousands from returning to the streets with further support to allow them to rebuild their lives with a roof above their heads.”

Local MP, Gillian Keegan said, “This pandemic has brought out the best in our community and I am extremely proud of the brilliant team at Chichester District Council and local charities like Stonepillow, St Pancras Church, the Four Streets Project and our foodbanks who have all come together to support the most vulnerable in our area. I know from talking to those working on the frontline the huge impact all the individuals, supermarkets, restaurants and businesses have had by donating food, or money and or arranging donation points.

We now have a real opportunity to ensure people who are in temporary accommodation can move into safe, secure, long-term housing, offering people who have faced challenging times the breathing space and support they need to get things back on track.

I am very pleased that my colleagues in Government are working closely with organisations on the ground so together we can transform peoples lives for good.”

Eileen Lintill, Leader of Chichester District Council said: “We are pleased that extra funding has been made available to help support people off the streets in the longer term, and we will be bidding for some of this money in conjunction with our partners. We have been working very closely with local charities to support rough sleepers and there have been some really positive stories of individuals who have made amazing progress and been able to transform their lives for the better. As part of our council’s COVID Recovery Plan for the district, supporting rough sleepers off the streets is one of our key priorities, and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that they have a roof over their heads and a wider package of support.”

Hilary Bartle, Chief Executive of Stonepillow said, ‘Stonepillow welcomes the financial resources given by Government which have enabled Rough Sleepers to be supported off the streets during the Covid 19 lockdown. Stonepillow has been working with Homeless People and  Rough Sleepers in Chichester for over 30 years and this initiative has provided some of the most vulnerable with an opportunity to take their first steps off the street and into safe and secure accommodation which they would never normally accessed. They have received intensive support from my team who have worked tirelessly throughout this period to support those with multi disadvantage,  supporting people to build their confidence, hope and aspiration for their future.  There is still a great deal to do. But this announcement of additional funding allows us the breathing space to do some longer term critical work with this group,  focusing on moving  people into their own accommodation and keeping them off the streets for good!’