Greater support for rough sleepers thanks to £400k grant

Published: 23 December 2016

Around 400 homeless people in South West London could be helped ‘off the streets’ thanks to a £400k grant.

Richmond, Kingston and Wandsworth councils have been awarded £400k from the Department of Communities and Local Government to fund innovative homelessness prevention schemes and help support rough sleepers.

The councils, together with homelessness charity SPEAR, applied for the funding to expand existing support programmes and introduce new services in each borough.

SPEAR is a charity working with homeless people in South West London. They offer services to street homeless and vulnerable people, to enable them to find secure accommodation.

This funding will enable the current service to be expanded in Richmond and will fund two new outreach model services plus enhanced accommodation in Kingston and Wandsworth.

Cllr Lisa Blakemore, Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

“This money is intended to help some of the most vulnerable people in Richmond who face the dreadful prospect of living on the streets.

“We have a shortage of housing in the borough and sadly, homelessness has increased in the past few years across London. We believe that one of the best ways of tackling it is to help people to avoid becoming homeless in the first instance.

“As well as helping people who are already homeless, we will work with our voluntary sector partner SPEAR who have an excellent track record in this area to deliver an extended programme of support that will offer people help to develop skills, learn and train for employment opportunities.”

Cllr Paul Ellis, Cabinet Member for Housing at Wandsworth Council, said:

“This programme will offer those in greatest need an invaluable lifeline and the support they need to make lasting changes to their lives. I’m delighted the Government has seen the value in our bid and we can now press ahead with this vital work.

“This is an excellent example of multiple councils, the voluntary sector and central government working together to tackle a key issue and share best practice across a wide area.”

Cllr Kevin Davis, Leader of Kingston Council, said:

"This is terrific news. This funding from the Government will help us to meet the objectives set out in our housing strategy and contribute towards securing a brighter future for rough sleepers and vulnerable households in our borough."

Stuart Nevill from SPEAR Chief Executive, added:

“Our work preventing homelessness and providing fast and effective solutions for people rough sleeping in South West London is a matter of the utmost urgency – peoples lives depend on it. Rough sleeping continues to grow and so must the services we provide. This grant will enable us to work with more rough sleepers, building on our strong partnership with Richmond and Wandsworth Councils.”