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Temporary housing scheme to help rough sleepers during winter

CREDIT: Swindon Borough Council

Rough sleepers are to receive additional help over the winter period with the return of temporary housing scheme.

Swindon Borough Council will for the second year running offer special temporary winter housing provision for the town’s most vulnerable rough sleepers.

The Temporary Winter Housing Provision scheme was introduced last year to provide a safe refuge for rough sleepers.

The project will see a select number of homeless people given shelter and intensive support during the colder winter period. 

It was given Cabinet approval last night and will run for four months during the forthcoming winter. 

Of the eight people who were given permanent accommodation after completing the scheme, not a single one of them has returned to the streets and the Council is keen to replicate this success.

Cllr Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “I am proud to be able to say that the project will go ahead again this year''.

“Those who successfully complete the programme will be given suitable, permanent accommodation by the Council afterwards, which we hope will be the fresh start they so badly need. The people we help are among the most vulnerable in our community. As well as being homeless, they often have severe alcohol and drug problems as well as delicate mental health issues''.

“The local homelessness support organisations who worked to make the scheme such a success last year did a brilliant job and I am sure that together we can achieve the same positive results again''. 

Last years programme ran from from January to March this year, and saw around 50 volunteers work with rough sleepers in the old Carfax Street Health Centre building, but a new venue will have to be found for this winter, with the Council hoping to be able to offer accommodation to 10 rough sleepers.

Following a successful bid for funding from central government to help reduce rough sleeping, the Council has been awarded £194,000 to be spent by March 2019.

This year, £60,000 of this funding will go towards the Temporary Winter Housing Provision, with a further £30,000 earmarked for the 2019/20 financial year.

The Council is currently drafting the Rough Sleeper Strategy and the Homelessness Strategy which will focus resources on combating homelessness and rough sleeping.

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