Huntingdonshire District Council has successfully secured £205,000 from the government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative to help address the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in the area. The council has helped 108 people that faced the prospect of rough sleeping during the pandemic over the last year, providing emergency accommodation and support to find settled accommodation.

The council has supported a number of people in these situations as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, fully supporting the government’s 'Everyone In' approach, so that no one faced the prospect of being on the streets at this time.

Just over half of the money will fund the continuation of the Street Outreach Service that the council has led in partnership with South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire District Councils, together with P3, the support provider. The Street Outreach Service provides intensive support to rough sleepers working together to address wide-ranging needs, with the ultimate aim of helping them move away from the streets.

Executive Leader of the council, Councillor Ryan Fuller, said: "We have a strong track record of tackling rough sleeping across our district and never has this been as important as during the pandemic. We have been able to make sure that some of the most vulnerable and susceptible to the virus have been protected, and I am pleased that this new funding will allow us to continue with these vital services as we emerge out of lockdown."

The council’s work with rough sleepers is just one of the ways in which it addresses homelessness within the district. It recognises that offering earlier help and interventions can prevent people hitting a crisis point that leads to homelessness, and it has developed many early warning systems with partners to flag where households may be facing these types of situations.

Much of this work was trialled through the Homelessness Trailblazer programme and has now been fully embedded in the services we provide. Working closely with organisations such as local housing associations, the County Council, the Police, Probation and Prison Services as well as private landlords and lettings agents means that we are able to identify situations that may lead to homelessness much earlier and work together to prevent a homelessness crisis developing. The prevention of homelessness continues to be one of the council’s key priorities.