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Additional funding confirmed to help rough sleepers in the West Midlands

Published: Monday 26 Sep 2022

More than £2.5 million has been secured for the region’s flagship Housing First project to continue supporting hundreds of people who had previously been sleeping rough.

The money not only means the pilot project can carry on, but will be crucial in making sure those people who have already been given a roof over their head can continue to build their life away from the street.

The government announced the funding as part of its new Rough Sleeping Strategy to drive forward its manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping for good.

From left, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, talks to housing clients Martin and Ryan, with Eddie Hughes MP.

From left, Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street, talks to housing clients Martin and Ryan, with Eddie Hughes MP.

It comes on top of an initial £9.6m which was initially awarded to the West Midlands Housing First programme.

Housing First, unlike other schemes, places individuals directly into independent tenancies with no requirement to progress through transitional housing programmes.

They are given a choice about where to live and wraparound support, and the evidence has shown that this leads to positive outcomes.

So far, the scheme has helped 526 individuals across the region by taking them off the streets and getting them better access to supportive services.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said: “Since the very start of my time in office, I have made tackling homelessness a key part of my mayoral mission. The regional Housing First scheme has contributed to reducing rough sleeping across the West Midlands, thanks to some brilliant collaborative work – but there is still more that needs to be done.

“With the additional £2.5m secured for the Housing First scheme in the West Midlands, it gives us the chance to deepen the support we offer to those who have fallen on tough times to rebuild their lives.”

In 2018, £28 million was allocated to the West Midlands (WMCA), Greater Manchester (GMCA) and Liverpool City Region (LCRCA) and pilots were set up to test, if this type of intervention could be successful in supporting those with a long history of rough sleeping.  

Councillor Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for Housing and Homelessness at Birmingham City Council and chair of the WMCA Homelessness Taskforce Members Advisory Group, said ‘The cost of living crisis will mean that many more people are at risk of homelessness and it will put a big additional strain on all council services. So Birmingham City Council welcomes the extension and extra funding provided for  the Housing First scheme as part of the Government’s new strategy to end rough sleeping for good.”

For the first time, the Government’s strategy has defined what is meant by ending rough sleeping – which is that rough sleeping will be prevented wherever possible, and when it does occur, it will be a rare, brief and non-recurrent experience.

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