Derby to support rough sleepers with £2.4million of additional funding
Published: 29 October 2020
Derby has been awarded £1.2million in government funding to help support rough sleepers, following a successful bid as part of the Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP), which will be match funded with an additional £1.2million by Derby City Council.
This money will allow Derby City Council to purchase 20 units of accommodation, specifically for at-risk individuals with complex needs such as entrenched rough sleeping, previous failed tenancies, and individuals who would otherwise struggle to manage independent living. It is expected that the first property will be ready for occupation by the end of November, with all 20 units on track for March 2021.
This will be complimented by an additional £450,000 of government funding over the next three years, that will allow the Council to provide floating support to the same cohort, helping them work through pathways to independence.
The Next Steps Accommodation Programme follows on from the government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative, which was launched as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown began. Derby City Council received funding from the government to provide temporary accommodation for those who were sleeping rough, living in unsafe communal settings or at imminent risk of rough sleeping. To facilitate this, 100 rooms were block-booked at the Holiday Inn Express on Pride Park between March and June, allowing ‘roofless’ citizens to isolate, including individuals and households who became homeless during lockdown. In total, over 190 individuals stayed there, of whom 168 have been supported to achieve a positive move-on, with everyone made an offer of accommodation and support appropriate to their needs.
Derby City Council are now working with partners to ensure that there is sustainable, long- term, supported housing for everyone who was provided accommodation as part of the emergency response. This includes the city’s cohort of rough sleepers, all of whom were successfully housed during the nationwide lockdown. The NSAP funding will build on the success already achieved by providing the resources needed for the council and its partners to prevent people from returning to the streets.
The successful bid comes at a crucial time for homelessness work in the city, as the approaching winter coupled with ongoing risks of the COVID-19 pandemic pose a serious challenge. Those without a home and sleeping rough are significantly more likely to have underlying health conditions, including respiratory problems, than the wider population. Rough sleepers are also ‘far less likely’ to be able to follow Public Health England’s advice on self-isolation, social distancing and handwashing.
The accommodation programme is in addition to the existing homeless services available in the city and plans are still in place between partners to ensure those at risk of rough sleeping over winter have access to somewhere safe and warm whilst they receive support.
Working with partners across the city, the council’s aim is to ensure that as few individuals as possible return to the streets.
Derby’s Partnership Success
Derby already has an established and successful programme for tackling rough sleeping, which has seen numbers reduced and sustained at comparatively low levels. Our strategy encompasses a range of activities from our positive engagement on the streets, through a range of support services and on into stability and independence.
Derby Homes is responsible for coordinating the city’s response to homelessness and for delivering the Council’s statutory Homelessness Services. Our priorities are to prevent individuals from becoming homeless and to provide relief for those who are already homeless or sleeping rough: not just accommodation, but ongoing, specialised support that allows people to tackle the issues that make sustaining a tenancy challenging.
Homelessness work is delivered in partnership with a number of organisations, including Derbyshire constabulary, Public Health, probation services, specialist housing providers, and voluntary and faith organisations.
The last street estimate in Derby, in November 2019, identified 14 rough sleeping individuals, a reduction from 26 in 2018 and 37 the year before. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a further 8 individuals were identified who had not previously been known to local services.
Cllr. Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing, said:
We welcome the investment in Derby, and are fully committed to government’s agenda. This funding presents a real opportunity to support some of the most vulnerable in this city through pathways to greater independence. It comes at a crucial time: as COVID-19 cases are increasing nationwide, and the colder months are fast approaching, it’s vital that we ensure we have enough housing provision across Derby for homeless individuals, and those who are at risk of sleeping rough or recovering from rough sleeping.
“Rough sleeping is a complex issue, and we know it can’t be fixed by simply offering someone a roof over their head. We need to accept there will always be new entrants to rough sleeping, and some that are not ready to accept our offer of help.
“The funding we’ve received will not only allow us to purchase appropriate housing: it will create an ongoing support service that truly meet the needs of vulnerable people.