Funding approved for workers to help homeless people in Leeds

Homelessness has risen in Leeds. Picture: Tony Johnson
Homelessness has risen in Leeds. Picture: Tony Johnson
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An increase of homeless people in Leeds has been met with a fund of up to £178,000 in government cash to employ three new workers aimed at getting rough sleepers off the streets.

Leeds City Council’s Director of Resources and Housing, Neil Evans, has approved a recommendation for the money to be spent on employees offering “targeted support” from this September to March 2019.

The Street Outreach and Forward Leeds teams will take on the staff to work directly with “longer-term” rough sleepers and beggars.

As part of the Flexible Homeless Support Grant, the Department for Communities and Local Government has allocated £3,431,502 to the city until 2019.

Coun Caroline Anderson, a member of the council’s Scrutiny Board for Adults and Health, said:“Being homeless and having to sleep rough or beg is a terrible situation for anyone and the unfortunate increase in the amount of begging, particularly in the city centre, clearly has an impact on those living in, working in and visiting Leeds.

“It is important that the council uses this government funding to provide targeted help to rough sleepers and seeks to remove the barriers that often prevent people from accessing vital services, for whatever reason. In addition I also want to see the council continue to take action when necessary to deal with persistent beggars who can be intimidating to passers-by.”

Councillor Barry Anderson, the council’s shadow spokesman for Housing, added that the funding would hopefully address “some of the problems that have led to people becoming homeless in the first place”.

A report drafted for Mr Evans ahead of his decision states that all 10 people who have been identified as sleeping rough on a regular basis in the city have “a history of and current dependency on drugs and alcohol and/ or mental health issues.

“All repeatedly refuse emergency accommodation options.”

One worker to be taken on will try and help people settle as tenants and the other two will “encourage people to take up support” alongside other work.

Quarterly performance reports will be drafted outlining the outcomes of the work.

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