HOMELESS people sleeping rough will continue to be provided with emergency accommodation during the Covid lockdown as winter approaches, Cornwall Council has promised.
Those affected by homelessness will be encouraged to work with the council to agree move-on plans that address not just their housing needs, but the support they need so they don’t end up returning to a life on the streets.
Additional Next Steps Accommodation funding announced by the government sees £4.4 million allocated to Cornwall. This means that it will be able to provide over 70 homes in locations all over Cornwall to enable people who sleep rough, or are at risk of sleeping rough, to be rehoused in supported, secure, long-term accommodation.
This is in addition to the Council’s successful bid for £567,620 to the first stage of government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) which will be put towards a £730,000 strategy to deliver emergency homes and to bring on board extra Prevention & Engagement Officers on the ground.
There will also be dedicated support to help residents with their mental and physical wellbeing, a specialist homelessness social worker and a programme to encourage landlords to come forward with move on accommodation.
At the start of lockdown, the council put in place suitable accommodation for rough sleepers including at holiday parks and hotels, in temporary self-contained homes on two Council-owned sites in mid and west Cornwall, as well as using its own and housing association stock so that vulnerable people had somewhere safe to stay during this health crisis.
Now, it has committed to keeping open the 21 temporary self-contained cabins on Cornwall Council owned sites in Penzance and Truro until March 2021. There are also plans to source more accommodation on a further site as well as keep the self-contained rooms already available in other locations. In all there will be 63 spaces for those who need them, with 49 already up and running.
Since lockdown in March, 168 single people who would otherwise have ended up sleeping rough have been offered a safe place to stay.
Cornwall Council portfolio holder for homes Andrew Mitchell says: “We’ve worked to find accommodation for rough sleepers which include people who were sofa surfing or living with friends or relatives who could no longer share their homes under the stresses of the public health emergency and the lockdown. This means that the number of people needing help with accommodation has been significantly higher.”
Members and town councils local to each site have been brought on board for their input on the suitability of what is proposed and remain integral to the decision-making process.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes Andrew Mitchell said: “It is important to have emergency temporary accommodation in a variety of locations. It makes it easier for our dedicated support teams to engage with people and offer support so they can move on into settled homes. This new funding announcement means we can press ahead with plans to provide some of the most vulnerable in society with a long term place to live and help to rebuild their lives.”
There are still people out there who are sleeping rough and we continue to try and engage with each one and encourage them to consider the housing options being made available to them.
Nick Cross, Managing Director of Cornwall Housing said: “Much of the temporary accommodation is managed by Cornwall Housing. Our teams work with vulnerable people to find a more permanent housing solution and ensure they have access to other services to help them with ongoing underlying health issues or complex needs.”
Anyone who is homeless or threatened with homelessness, you should contact Cornwall Housing Limited on 0300 1234 161 and ask for the Prevention and Engagement team. There is also useful information and advice on their website at www.cornwallhousing.org.uk
Those concerned about someone who is sleeping rough, you should report this through Streetlink by visiting www.streetlink.org.uk or by phoning them on 0300 500 0914. Streetlink will then inform the Outreach Team who can make contact with the person and offer them help and support to find accommodation.
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