More money to address homelessness

The city council has received a £220,000 government grant to help tackle homelessness.

It will use the money for a full-time rough sleeper co-ordinator who will work alongside the authority’s homeless charities Catching Lives and Porchlight.

Together they will address the individual needs of each rough sleeper they come into contact with.

This could include getting them into employment or education and supporting them with with issues such as alcohol and drug abuse.

The money comes from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Catching Lives open centre provides services for homeless people

It will also be used to extend the winter shelter run by Catching Lives to provide bed spaces for six months of the year, between the start of October and the end of March.

And it will help maintain the council’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) during periods of extreme cold.

Cllr Neil Baker, the council’s community chairman, said: “Last winter, we really caught the government’s attention with our approach to SWEP, keeping it running when most other councils had closed it down so that we could put in place extra support and interventions for rough sleepers.

“This funding will make a huge difference. It goes without saying that we are delighted to have secured it, and are very pleased it will be backed up by a further award next year.”

General Manager of Catching Lives, Terry Gore, said: “This new funding will enable Canterbury City Council, Porchlight and Catching Lives to increase engagement with rough sleepers in and around Canterbury.

The increased outreach presence means that we will have more time and resources to work with the most entrenched and complex people, those who need an extra level of support.”

Porchlight head of homelessness services Chris Burgess, added: “We welcome this extra funding and are committed to working in partnership with the council to support everyone in need. We sincerely hope that this will be the beginning of the end for rough sleeping in Canterbury.”

More funding will be made available for 2019/20.

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