Published: 11:23, 12 June 2018
The fight to eradicate rough sleeping in Canterbury has been given a welcome boost thanks to a £220,000 government grant.
It is hoped the cash will spark the "beginning of the end" for homelessness in the city, with the money enabling Canterbury City Council to expand its rough sleeper projects.
A full-time authority coordinator will now work with Catching Lives and Porchlight to devise furhter support plans for in need individuals.
The funding will also be used to bolster a winter shelter with more beds and expand the council's Severe Weather Emergency Protocol which kicks in during times of extreme cold.
Cllr Neil Baker, chairman of the council’s community committee, said: “This funding will make a huge difference. It goes without saying that we are delighted to have secured it, and are very pleased it will be backed up by a further award next year.
“Last winter, we really caught the government’s attention with our approach by keeping Swep running when most other councils had closed it down.
“This work in particular led to us being invited to discuss the challenges we face with the government. They like to know that their money will be going to councils that make a difference and spend it on projects that will get results."
The money - coming from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government - is part of a £30 million national scheme. Further cash for next year has also been agreed for Canterbury but the final figures are yet to be finalised.
The news has been hailed by leaders of charities Catching Lives and Porchlight. Chris Burgess, head of homelessness at the latter, said: “We welcome this extra funding and are committed to working in partnership with the council to support everyone in need.
"We sincerely hope that this will be the beginning of the end for rough sleeping in Canterbury.”
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