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No government cash for Weston rough sleepers

by mikebell on 25 June, 2018

The Government has announced allocations to local councils from a new £30 million fund to tackle rough sleeping – but not one penny has been given to North Somerset Council.

Neighbouring authorities including Bristol (£583,000), Bath and North East Somerset (£300,000) and Mendip (£150,000) have all benefited.

The fund was announced in March to help councils tackle rough sleeping and provide more support and pathways into a permanent home for people living on the streets. The final allocations to local councils across England were announced last week.

Councillor Mike Bell (Liberal Democrat, Weston Central Ward), who has been campaigning for improved support for rough sleepers said: “This is really disappointing. So much good work is being done locally, especially by the church community and voluntary groups, but long-term support and investment is needed. North Somerset Council has just not taken rough sleeping seriously, so it is no wonder that government support has not been forthcoming.”

Meanwhile, Weston Town Council is poised to pump a £25,000 grant into improved night-time support for Weston town centre through a partnership with community and church groups and the Somewhere To Go charity. The plan is to provide a night-time assessment centre to help rough sleepers off the streets and access wider support.

Councillor Bell added: “This is a welcome initiative and the Town Council is right to support it. However, we must recognise that we have to tackle the root causes of homelessness which means welfare reforms, better support for vulnerable people and enabling all councils to address our national housing shortage, through being able to borrow to build new homes.

“Only by triggering a renaissance in the council house-building and social housing that we need can we put in place the long-term change that will help make homelessness a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the Conservative government continues to drag its feet and consign thousands of local people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or in poor housing to continued misery.”

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