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Newham's rough sleepers to be helped by government grant

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:24 28 December 2016

Memorial Community Church in Plaistow is known to be one of the places used by rough sleepers. Picture: Ken Mears

Memorial Community Church in Plaistow is known to be one of the places used by rough sleepers. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

Newham Council has been awarded nearly £400,000 of government funding to provide help for its rough sleepers.

The successful bid forms part of prime minister Theresa May’s £50 million pledge to tackle homelessness and will support newly rough sleepers or those at “imminent risk” of becoming so in the borough of Newham.

With one in 27 people in the borough currently having nowhere to live, the council welcomed the grant in order to tackle its “increasing issue with rough sleeping”.

A council spokeswoman said: “This funding will enable us to further develop our work with a wide range of partners helping those currently sleeping rough to get off the streets and rebuild their lives, including support to find jobs.

“It will also help enhance our work with vulnerable people at risk of becoming homeless including through issues with their tenancy, the breakdown of a relationship, substance misuse or mental illness.”

The announcement, made last Wednesday, came two days before housing charity Crisis said 80 per cent of homeless people have been attacked or a victim of abuse this year.

The housing charity found two thirds of people questioned felt that living on the streets was getting harder with many saying they had been kicked, urinated on, or victims of sexual abuse or theft.

Additional funds within the government’s £50m spend will help long-term rough sleepers with the most complex needs, awarded on a payment-by-results system to various London councils including Newham.

The Greater London Authority, which will adminster the money, was one of eight areas to benefit from £10m Social Impact Bonds funding.

It will enable councils to trial a US-pioneered “Housing First” model, in which permanent accommodation is given to rough sleepers before providing other kinds of help.

A separate £50m to help homeless people across the capital through the provision of move-on accommodation has also been announced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated academic study, Newham Council was praised for being one of the few London councils to prioritise members of the armed forces when it comes to housing people in need.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are committed to doing all we can to support servicemen and women and it is pleasing that our efforts have been recognised.”

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