The homeless are set for a better deal in South Kesteven following a series of successful bids for more than £700,000 of Government cash for the Change4Lincs rough sleeping project.
This is part of a wider £3m investment across the whole of Lincolnshire for vital initiatives such as:
- Tenancy support services
- Physical health support
- Help to address substance use and addictions
- More targeted support to help individuals off the streets for good
South Kesteven District Council Leader, Cllr Kelham Cooke, said: “SKDC secured funding to further the good work we are doing as lead partner for the Change4Lincs project county-wide.
“This was a collective bid for South Kesteven, North Kesteven, South Holland and West Lindsey councils which run the shared service. We are proud that, in contrast to other Lincolnshire authorities, Change4Lincs managed to secure a significant uplift in funding for our work.”
A newly created reconnection officer post will assist people with immigration status issues, working with those rough sleeping or at risk of rough sleeping to get their EU Settled Status, ensuring access to healthcare, education, benefits and ultimately a home.
Cllr Cooke said: “Without this service in place, there is a risk that the number of these individuals might continue to build and result in rough sleeping without intervention to solve the issue. This would impact on our ability to reduce rough sleeping numbers overall.
“This worker will support people to secure their eligibility status, assist with work opportunities and access to health care, for example, so that the money spent accommodating them has a positive outcome.
“We are looking forward to continuing its partnership with the other districts following this successful funding bid which will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
The council has also secured an extra £60,000 in response to the action required in the wake of the lifting of the Covid eviction embargo.
It forms part of a county-wide vision that homelessness should be “rare, brief and non-recurring”.
Since 2018, the number of people sleeping rough across Lincolnshire has reduced by 56.4%. Despite this, all partner agencies recognise that there is more to do.
Change4Lincs provides outreach services to those who are rough sleeping and homeless and help and advice to those who may be at risk of becoming homeless. Its aims are twofold. Working with each of the council's housing services teams Change4Lincs has developed a new response that aims to identify and help new rough sleepers to get off the streets as soon as possible. The service also helps longer-term rough sleepers by offering a chance to prevent repeat homelessness.
Cllr Cooke added: “Landlords and estate agents are experiencing a high level of applicants for affordable properties as they come to market. One thing Change4Lincs does is supports clients who have been homeless compete in this market against applicants who are working, have good credit history and references.
“Affordable rent is also an issue, and in Sleaford and Stamford our lettings officer struggles to find any affordable rented accommodation."
Successes so far include:
- 55 clients supported into private accommodation
- Full service to clients has been provided during the pandemic
- Positive working relationships with agencies and providers
- New private landlords and agents working to provide accommodation
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough, call free on 0800 121 4430.