East London boroughs receive funding to help rough sleepers off city’s streets for good

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 November 2020 | UPDATED: 13:45 11 November 2020

Havering Council is set to receive more than £3million of government funding to combat rough sleeping in the borough. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Havering Council is set to receive more than £3million of government funding to combat rough sleeping in the borough. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire

PA Archive/PA Images

East London boroughs are set to benefit from funding designed to help rough sleepers off the city’s streets for good.

As part of the Next Steps Accommodation Programme, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets have each been allocated a portion of the fund, which is split in two:

• Short-term, interim accommodation and support for the 15,000 people accommodated during the pandemic, worth £105million.

• Long-term accommodation and support for rough sleepers, worth £161million.

The programme is regulated by the ministry of housing, communities and local government, with long-term funding in London administered by the Greater London Authority.

All four local authorities have been granted short-term funding, with Barking and Dagenham the only exception to the long-term provision.

The government guidance describes the situation for rough sleepers as being “at a critical stage”, with this programme “an opportunity to take steps to end rough sleeping for good”.

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Short-term funding must be used by March 2021, and is designed to cover a range of interventions, from moves into the private rented sector, to extending interim accommodation such as hotels or student accommodation.

Of the four, Redbridge was given the biggest short-term allocation — £1,460,753. The remaining three boroughs each secured less than £1million; Tower Hamlets has been given £820,305, Barking and Dagenham £441,894 and Havering £70,000.

The long-term funding is aimed at combatting the problem of rough sleeping beyond the emergency situation presented by coronavirus. The intention is that the funding is used to create longer-term accommodation schemes, whether it be purchasing properties, developing new builds or refurbishing current council stock. Funding is subject to such schemes being delivered by March 31 next year.

Tower Hamlets, Redbridge and Havering will each receive more than £2,000,000 under this allocation, with the latter to receive the most — £3,035,413. The other two boroughs will receive broadly similar amounts; £2,495,835 is going to Tower Hamlets with £2,447,092 allocated to Redbridge.

When contacted, the respective councils in Redbridge and Havering outlined how their proposed funding will be used.

Redbridge’s short-term funding — in excess of £1 million — has been allocated to facilitate immediate interventions, similar to those which enabled the council to house more than 200 rough sleepers at the beginning of the pandemic in March.

The borough’s long-term funding is to build 26 supported self-contained studio flats, including 18 units at Ryedale hostel and eight at site to be confirmed (managed by the Salvation Army).

Havering council confirmed the receipt of both short and long-term funding, with the latter designed to help it achieve the goals outlined in its recently published Prevention of Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2020-2025.

Barking and Dagenham council has yet to comment on why it has received no long-term allocation.

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