Team work wins funding to prevent homelessness

South Tyneside Councillor Allan West, Sunderland City Councillor Graeme Miller and Helen Aitchison of Changing Lives.
South Tyneside Councillor Allan West, Sunderland City Councillor Graeme Miller and Helen Aitchison of Changing Lives.
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A new approach has been launched to combat homelessness and rough sleeping on the streets.

The collaborative approach by South Tyneside and Sunderland councils has seen their bid to the Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Homelessness Prevention Fund find success.

South Tyneside Councillor Allan West, Sunderland City Councillor Graeme Miller and Changing Lives Helen Aitchison.

South Tyneside Councillor Allan West, Sunderland City Councillor Graeme Miller and Changing Lives Helen Aitchison.

The external funding of £376,000 over the next two years will be used to provide targeted help and support to people temporarily without a home who may face having to sleep rough as a result.

Part of that will be outreach work delivered through leading national homelessness charity Changing Lives, from its Sunderland base at the Old Orphanage Buildings in the East End of Sunderland.

South Tyneside Council’s lead member for housing and transport Allan West, said: “We were delighted to receive this funding which will enable us to build on our effective partnership approach and focus on the vulnerable single homeless, rough sleepers and those hidden in private hostel accommodation.

“South Tyneside Council’s homelessness strategy aims to prevent homelessness and this funding will allow us to maximise opportunities for early intervention and targeted prevention activity.”

Credit to Sunderland and South Tyneside for getting together and supporting a pioneering way of housing rough sleepers through our partnership model of ‘housing first’ for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

Stephen Bell

The councils have said work between the two councils would make the efforts more effective.

Work with Changing-Lives will include identifying and engaging rough sleepers with the aim of reducing cyclical homelessness; supporting homeless individuals to engage with partnership services to encourage recovery and resilience; a housing-first approach to support some of the most entrenched and disadvantaged homeless individuals and assisting people to become stable, integrated and thriving members of the community.

Chief executive of Changing Lives, Stephen Bell, said: “We are delighted to be delivering this service with our partners in the local authority.

“The funding represents an innovative partnership across authorities which provide vital support to the homeless.

“Credit to Sunderland and South Tyneside for getting together and supporting a pioneering way of housing rough sleepers through our partnership model of ‘housing first’ for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Members of both council’s homelessness teams were invited to address a cross-party event hosted by Homeless Link at the House of Lords to promote the various agencies involved in the homelessness sector across the country and launch a new supported housing strategy.

Councillor Miller added: “The policy and practice of the homelessness and supported housing sector helps transform the lives of the most vulnerable people in our society, and this sector will continue to lead on innovative initiatives and campaign for policy changes that have a lasting impact.”