£1.8million boost to help tackle homelessness in South Tyneside

Some of the most vulnerable people in South Tyneside are to get an extra helping hand after homelessness services received a funding boost of more than £1.8million.

South Tyneside Council has been awarded a share of money after a successful joint bid with Gateshead to the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative.

Council chiefs say the funding will be used over three years to provide emergency accommodation to get people off the streets, and supported housing units to help people move on with support from sustainment officers.

It will also fund and a round-the-clock outreach team to respond to reports of rough sleepers.

File image as extra cash is awarded to help tackle homelessness in South Tyneside.

Cllr Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, fears the cost of living crisis could see more people left homeless, and welcomed the funding to help people in need.

She said: “We’re really pleased to have secured this funding, which will allow us to continue and extend our ongoing work to tackle rough sleeping.

“This was a joint bid with our neighbouring authority, Gateshead and will result in an increase in the number of services on offer across our two boroughs, as we often see people migrating between the two.

“Sadly, the cost of living crisis may mean that more people are at risk of homelessness.”

She added: “The funding will enable us to further develop our successful prevention work as well as providing emergency and move-on accommodation with intensive support to help people gain the skills they need for independent living.

“We can also continue to provide a 24-hour outreach service, meaning we can respond to reports of rough sleepers straight away.”

According to figures as from July 2022, there are four people sleeping rough in the borough.

The figure comes from a bi-monthly head count of rough sleepers carried out by council teams.

Cllr Jim Foreman, Lead Member for Housing and Community Safety, said the problem was smaller here than elsewhere in the country, but he wanted to see that figure cut to zero.

“Fortunately in South Tyneside we don’t have the scale of problem experienced in other parts of the country, however even one person sleeping on our streets is too many,” he said.

“The reasons why people end up homeless are complex and we take a holistic approach to ensure these vulnerable residents get access to the support they need and avoid repeat homelessness.”

Earlier this month the government published its £2billion Rough Sleeping Strategy, which includes up to £500 million over three years for the Rough Sleeping Initiative, which this year will help provide 14,000 beds for rough sleepers and 3,000 staff to provide tailored support across England. This includes helping individuals find work, manage their finances and access mental and physical health services.

:: If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness 0800 141 2645 (freephone) - Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, and Friday 9am to 4.30pm, or 0191 456 2093 - out of office hours.

:: If you see someone sleeping rough, you can report it https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ and will be picked up by an outreach team to offer support.