Scheme to help homeless in Warwickshire receives £864,000 boost

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A new scheme to help tackle homelessness in Warwickshire has received an £864,000 boost from the Government.

The county is one of 28 ‘trailblazer’ areas being funded by the Government as part of a £50 million programme aiming to stop people from becoming homeless in the first place.

The scheme aims to beat homelessness by identifying problems in vulnerable people early and directing them to resources that can help them.

Communities Minister Marcus Jones said: “This Government is committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society and making sure our country works for everyone.

“We’ve always ensured there is a strong homelessness safety net, but we know that just one person without a home is one too many.

“That’s why we’re changing the way we tackle homelessness and supporting ambitious programmes, such as those developed by councils across Warwickshire to reduce the number of people facing a homelessness crisis in the first place.”

Among the strategies the ‘trailblazer’ scheme will use to prevent homelessness includes quickening the referral process for those at risk by using social media and web-based applications rather than through traditional referrals and paperwork.

Other ideas include directing people for assessment as early as possible, using community mentors to help those struggling with addiction, and training other public services such as libraries and job centres to spot people who may be at risk and to refer them to the scheme.

The news is a further boost to the county’s homeless population after charity Warwickshire P3 was awarded the contract for delivering outreach services to rough sleepers.

In Warwick district, the charity has joined up with the district council’s Ranger service to patrol parks and other open spaces to help homeless people in finding accommodation and accessing any services they might need.

At the time, Warwick district councillor Kristie Naimo said: “We welcome anything we can do as a district council in partnership and in addition to the stretched voluntary sector to improve current support for rough sleepers.

“However, monitoring and advice does not tackle directly the growing numbers on our streets and the particular risk to their welfare on freezing nights when night shelters are closed.”

County council cuts earlier this year left three properties that housed homeless people in Warwick and Leamington set for closure.

The closures initially included William Wallsgrove House in Leamington, but the council decided to keep it open.

A spokeswoman for Warwick District Council said: “William Wallsgrove House is being kept open for the foreseeable future for people over 25 who need housing but require support before moving on to independent living.”

Cllr Colin Quinney said: The shortfall is still expected to be over 40 bedspaces and we urge the Conservative administration to commit to replacing all 60 spaces.

“We are pleased to learn that the council will now shortly be adding capacity for temporary accommodation for the highest priority homeless, as Labour has been urging.”

The Government plans to increase central funding to tackle homelessness to £149 million within the next four years, and to protect £315 million of council’s funds used to help homeless people until 2020.