New figures show rough sleeping in the Dover district has more than halved in the last year following a major injection of Government funding.
Nine people were recorded as sleeping rough in the most recent official count in November 2019, compared to 20 in the same period in 2018. It follows the district being awarded an extra £422,000 last year with Folkestone and Hythe District Council last year. Government announced a further increase of £469,651 this year.
I have been pushing for more funds to tackle homelessness and it’s good to see the new funding making a difference. But there is more to do. There are a range of factors as to why someone is homeless – and it is important we do more to prevent homelessness in the first place.
While it is only a snapshot, it is welcome that it is heading in the right direction – yet we must keep going to ensure everyone gets the support they need. The Government has committed to working to end rough sleeping entirely, and it is ensuring that there funding put in place to make that change on the ground.
Local authorities took an autumn snapshot using either a count-based estimate of visible rough sleeping, an evidence-based estimate meeting with local agencies, or an evidence-based estimate meeting including a spotlight count in specific areas. It is collated by outreach workers, local charities and community groups and independently verified by Homeless Link.
Across the country, over £400 million extra was announced towards tackling rough sleeping in September 2019 as part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative.
In Dover and Folkestone, the funding has been spent on two navigators – one specialised in substance misuse and one in helping vulnerable women – a rough sleeping co-ordinator, four officers providing a floating support service, an outreach worker, a mental health worker and an out-of-hours support service. The outreach service has a budget to fund up to 120 places in emergency accommodation as well as a longer-term accommodation budget.