New funding to reduce rough sleeping in Eastbourne

New funding to reduce rough sleeping across East Sussex has been made available by the Government.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 4:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 5:03 pm
Rough sleeping

Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes, Rother and Wealden councils have been working in partnership with East Sussex County Council to prevent the number of people sleeping rough and improve the services available.

So far 104 people have been supported with temporary accommodation and 91 people have been supported with long-term housing through the projects.

Overall the number of people sleeping rough in East Sussex on a typical night has fallen from 74 in November 2018 to around 30 in January 2020.

This week the Government announced the East Sussex councils would share £1,529,518 from the rough sleeping initiative and rapid rehousing pathway to support this work.

A statement on behalf of the council partnership said: “Homelessness is often seen as the cause of rough sleeping. However, many rough sleepers have a range of other support needs including substance dependency, mental health, physical health and care needs.

“We have been working closely with local health care trusts through the projects and used some of the funding to improve access to these services. We have also created new housing options for former rough sleepers, including both temporary and long term housing solutions.”

Homelessness Minister Luke Hall said: “No-one should have to face a night on the street, and we have a moral duty to support those who need help the most. It is encouraging to see more people getting the support they need, but there is always more to do.

“There are people all over the South East working tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. Our rough sleeping initiative is proving to be successful, and this funding will mean this vital work can be continued as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.”

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell was one of those to welcome the extra funding.

She said: “The reasons why people become rough sleepers are complex and often include family breakdown, divorce, mental health issues and substance abuse.

“But as a society, and as a government, we must do all we can to reach these people and encourage them to seek help and support. This money will do that, it will help the Government’s pledge to eliminate rough sleeping over the next few years and I look forward to seeing its positive influences.”

Ms Ansell, who is a Winter Nightshelter volunteer, is also calling for the authorities to establish an all-year round shelter to meet demand. Presently, the existing church-run shelter covers the winter months and will end in February.