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West Berkshire Council receives extra funding to reduce rough sleeping and homelessness

'Funding is integral to ensuring the significant work already under way can continue'

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

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Unite to end homeless in Newbury

WEST Berkshire Council has received an additional £475,000 to further reduce rough sleeping from April.

The cash, from the Government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) Fund, will enable the council to continue the work set out in its newly-adopted Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy.

West Berkshire Council executive member for housing and homelessness Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) said: “We are delighted that our bid was successful.

“The cash will enable us to continue the work we did in 2018/19 and this financial year to help more rough sleepers into safe accommodation.

“There is no doubt that there will always be challenges around homelessness and rough sleeping, but the RSI funding is integral to ensuring the significant work already under way can continue.

“All rough sleeping interventions are fully mobilised and we saw a 45 per cent reduction in rough sleeping in the year to November 2019.

“We will continue to work closely with partners and to proactively bid for Government funding, using it to the best of our ability to work towards the central Government commitment to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending rough sleeping by 2027.”

West Berkshire Homeless trustee and general secretary Erica Gassor, said: “West Berkshire Homeless, who are supported so excellently by their volunteers and the community, are delighted to be giving proactive support to the council in their initiatives to continue to reduce rough sleeping in our area. 

“There is still so much to do, but it can be achieved by everyone working together.”

Healthwatch West Berkshire chief officer Andrew Sharp said: “I’m very pleased that the Government has recognised the positive effects of the joint working across the voluntary and statutory sectors and the real changes it has made to some of the most vulnerable West Berkshire residents’ lives.

“We continue to campaign to end involuntary rough sleeping in West Berkshire as soon as possible.”

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