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More than £1.4m of government cash to help rough sleepers - but how much will your council get?

PUBLISHED: 17:05 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:53 29 January 2020

A homeless person sleeping rough on a bench outside Norwich City Hall.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

A homeless person sleeping rough on a bench outside Norwich City Hall. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

More than £1.4m of government cash is to be pumped into helping tackle rough sleeping in Norfolk, with hundreds of thousands heading to Norwich.

The housing secretary has today announced that an extra £112m is to be made available to local authorities across the country to combat homelessness, with £1.4m being shared across Norfolk.

The funding, which is part of the government's Rough Sleeping Initiative, is being made available in the 2020/21 financial year and can be used to provide extra beds, support workers or other means of helping those sleeping rough to find shelter.

Of this amount, the largest share locally has been awarded to Norwich City Council, with £869,534 being made available to help with the issue in the city.

The smallest share has been given to North Norfolk District Council, £75,996, while every other council in Norfolk was given a six-figure sum.

A North Norfolk District Council spokesman said: "This funding request approved by government will see the extension of posts in our Housing Options team which will allow us the capacity to continue carrying out the important work we do for those who need housing support in our area.

"It will also allow us to continue with the spot purchase of a bed and breakfast for rough sleepers, a new initiative we are working on with partners. It will also support the funding of starter packs for any rough sleeper that secures accommodation so they have their basic needs met when they move in."

A spokesman for West Norfolk Council said its £121,270 share would go towards providing three support workers.

They said: "The first element is continuation of funding for two intensive support workers who work with complex cases and people with multiple issues so that they can be helped back into accommodation, employment and be directed to any benefit or wellbeing support they may need.

"The other support worker is a new specialist mental health support worker, to work particularly with homeless people who are living with mental health conditions."

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Great Yarmouth Borough Council, which receives more than £110,000, will allow it to introduce a new service to provide health care for rough sleepers and create a new role to co-ordinate the council's response to the issue.

Andy Grant, chairman of the council's housing and neighbourhood committee, said: "The rough sleeper coordinator role will work closely with partners and voluntary groups to ensure all rough sleepers in Great Yarmouth are aware of and able to access the services they need."

A Breckland Council spokesman said: "We welcome this funding to help tackle homelessness within our district. In the last six months we have created a new Rough Sleeper team, who are proactively engaging with homeless people and providing them with bespoke support to help end a cycle of homelessness. The new funding will help build on this work and support projects which enable rough sleepers to access additional support and accommodation options."

All other councils have been approached for comment, but are yet to respond.

The Norfolk shares of the funding are as follows:

Breckland: £106,500

Great Yarmouth: £111,735

King's Lynn and West Norfolk: £121,270

North Norfolk: £75,996

Norwich: £869,534

South Norfolk and Broadland: £156,420

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