North Swindon MP and Minister for Family Support, Housing & Child Maintenance, Justin Tomlinson, has welcomed news that Swindon is to benefit from an investment of more than a quarter of a million pounds to further support the Rough Sleeping Initiative.
The Government has pledged to end rough sleeping by 2027, and earlier this year backed this up with a £30 million investment into the Rough Sleeping Initiative fund for 2018-19 – of which Swindon received £194,000.
This week the Government announced a further provisional £34m investment for 2019-20, of which Swindon will receive £255,125.
Locally, Swindon Borough Council spends £1.4 million a year on a range of schemes to support the town’s homeless including five key supported housing schemes that specialise in street homeless, offenders, young people, and those suffering from domestic abuse.
The latest investment builds upon the work already undertaken – which include:
- piloting the internationally proven Housing First approach in three areas of England
- allocating over £1.2 billion in order to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping, including more upfront funding so local authorities can proactively tackle homelessness pressures in their areas, an
- changes made under the Homelessness Reduction Act which mean that more people will get the help they need and at an earlier stage to prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place.
Justin's new role as a Work & Pensions Minister sees him lead on a variety of issues including supported housing; a key part of the system which provides housing & tailored assistance to the most vulnerable in society.
Last month, Justin announced that responsibility for supporting housing would remain with central government rather than being devolved – a decision welcomed by key stakeholders who work with individuals at risk of homelessness & rough sleeping.
The North Swindon MP recently visited the Salvation Army site at Booth House in the town centre when he met with staff & volunteers as well as residents living on site. In addition to this, he received a tour of the two social enterprises the Salvation Army operates out of the Booth House site to support its residents - The Sandwich People (which caters for private & charity events across Swindon) and Recycles (which fixes, restores & sells bicycles).
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “This is a significant investment from the Government, which will greatly help the local authority’s work to tackle homelessness. To end rough sleeping is very ambitious, and I am proud that the Government is backing this up with generous investment.”