I am pleased that Chester West and Cheshire is to be at the forefront of an important initiative in the Government’s work to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s has recently announced that Chester West and Cheshire is to become one of the first local authority areas to open a Somewhere Safe to Stay rapid assessment hub as part of the Government’s £100 million Rough Sleeping Strategy. The new hub will be up and running in spring 2019.
The hub will help those sleeping rough, or those who are at risk of sleeping rough, by providing immediate shelter and rapid assessment by specialist outreach workers to ensure that they get the support they need to recover from life on the streets.
It will also play a vital role in identifying the issues that led to an individual sleeping on the streets in the first place and provide support to help them through things like a relationship breakdown, mental health problems, substance misuse or financial difficulties.
The Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs form part of the Government’s wider Rapid Rehousing Pathway programme which also includes expert navigators who will support people who sleep rough on their journey from the streets to settled accommodation, the establishment of Local Lettings Agencies to source, identify or provide homes and advice for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; and a new Supported Lettings programme, which will provide support funding to help individuals with low to medium support needs to maintain their accommodation and recover from sleeping rough.
Rough sleepers are vulnerable people, who may be dealing with complex mental health problems or addictions, and require specialist help to tackle these issues and turn their lives around. No one should ever have to face a night on the streets and the new hub will ensure that people can access the support and long-term sustainable housing they need to leave the streets for good.