Cash boost for work to tackle homelessness across three South Yorkshire councils

Three South Yorkshire councils are to get a £380,000 grant to spend on tackling homelessness problems, with Rotherham getting another £120,000 which will be invested within the borough.

By Paul Whitehouse
Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 4:49 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th April 2019, 4:54 pm
Double boost: Extra cash from two sources for homelessness work in Rotherham
Double boost: Extra cash from two sources for homelessness work in Rotherham

Details of the funding successes emerged as Rotherham Councillors heard details of a new strategy which aims to eradicate homelessness and rough sleeping in the town by the mid-2020s.

Members of the ruling Cabinet will decide on April 15 whether to adopt the policy, which updates existing work done by the authority.

That work will be supported by new money coming into the county, with the largest grant being used to support work done by Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley Councils.

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It will see three new officers recruited to work with the prison service to help ensure ex-offenders get access to housing after they are released from custody.

There will also be mental health worker to help address some of the issues which can lead to, or contribute towards, homelessness.

Rotherham’s plan to stamp out homelessness is particularly bold because the borough has seen a rise in demand for help in recent years, a situation reflected nationally.

The scale of the problem is reflected in the council’s workload, which has more than doubled from 132 to 403 cases in the space of a year, though their intervention has also seen another 714 individuals and families avoid homelessness, either through assistance to stay in their existing accommodation or to find a new home.

Demand for temporary accommodation has also risen, from 21 cases in October 2017 to 38 last October and 45 at the end of March.

Measures already put in place by the council include investing £50m in new council housing, to help provide places for the homeless to live, and investing in ‘pre-fab’ accommodation for individuals needing temporary housing, which is expected to be installed in the Autumn.

Councillors were told by officer Sandra Tolley that two new units were also being made available specifically for those fleeing domestic violence and that homeless households were now the priority for accommodation through the authority.

A decision will be taken on whether to adopt the strategy when the Cabinet meets.