Rough sleeper, homeless

A grant for more than half a million pounds has been awarded to help tackle rough sleeping across East Devon has been.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has successfully bid for funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities through the Rough Sleeper Initiative.

A total of £568,074 has been given to the district to tackle rough sleeping and contribute towards EDDC’s ambition to end rough sleeping in the district, over the next three years.

The money has helped to provide a more stable platform allowing EDDC to finance and hire officers in the following posts:

  • Two ‘Rough Sleeper Navigators’ who undertake outreach sessions to follow up new reports of rough sleepers and work with existing rough sleepers with the aim of helping them to obtain suitable accommodation options.
  • One ‘Housing Officer’ dedicated to providing wraparound support to former rough sleepers accommodated through the ‘Housing First’ programme.
  • One ‘Private Sector Liaison Officer’ working with homeless applicants, and former rough sleepers, to access accommodation within the private sector through the council’s rent deposit and bond scheme.

Several positive outcomes for former rough sleepers have been achieved over the past few years, within a very challenging housing environment, through this funding stream which has played a major part in enabling the council to work towards its aim to end rough sleeping in the district.

There were 159 reports of new rough sleepers within the district in 2021/22, and a further 122 over the last six months between April and September, 2022/23.

In the past 12 months, between September 2021 and September 2022, the number of verified rough sleepers at any one time in East Devon has varied from three to 14 – with August, September and October seeing the highest numbers (between 11 and 14) and February, March and April seeing the lowest numbers (with three).

Councillor Dan Ledger, EDDC’s portfolio holder sustainable homes and communities, said:

With the cost-of-living crisis that we are currently facing as well as other winter pressures on the horizon, this funding is really welcomed.

We acknowledge that some of our residents will struggle in the coming months and as a Council we wish to help wherever possible.

These additional posts will ensure that the council is able to offer full assistance to anyone requiring it, giving timely help, advice and support to our residents who need it most.

This will hopefully keep as many people as possible off our streets over the next few years and help to achieve positive outcomes in securing long term sustainable accommodation for those individuals and families.