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Canterbury City Council given £1 million boost to tackle homelessness

Almost £1 million has been pledged by Canterbury City Council to tackle homelessness over the next two years, including helping those recently released from prison who might end up on the streets.

It follows the award of £955,246 in grants from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government which will fund two projects.

The grant will help fund two projects tackling rough sleeping and homelessness. Picture: stock
The grant will help fund two projects tackling rough sleeping and homelessness. Picture: stock

The money will help support its rough sleeper initiative and the expansion of a scheme which helps to prevent prisoner homelessness in Kent.

"This huge funding boost is very welcome and will allow us to continue the excellent work that has been taking place on these two vital projects, " said the chairman of the council's community committee, Cllr Neil Baker.

"Tackling homelessness is rightly a priority, but one that needs adequate funding, " he added.

The council, alongside partner organisations Porchlight and Catching Lives, launched a dedicated project for rough sleeping in July 2018 and has worked with 260 people, with 198 now of the streets and living in a form of accommodation.

However, the local authority says the "problem of rough sleeping continues," with an estimated 10 extra people having to live on the city's streets each month.

In December the council worked with 39 people, 17 of who were new to the area, and managed to help 11 of them find accommodation.

The second scheme to help released prisoners becoming homeless was launched earlier last year in Canterbury, Maidstone, Medway and Thanet, following a successful bid for funding.

"Tackling homelessness is rightly a priority, but one that needs adequate funding."

In its first year, 27 prisoners were found suitable places to live and the project will now expand to Dover, Folkestone, Hythe, Gravesham and Swale, thanks for another funding bid.

Cllr Baker said: "Across the council, Catching Lives and Porchlight, there are staff out on the streets every day and they deserve a huge amount of thanks.

"They are continually supporting people, encouraging them to move into accommodation and helping them with the often complex health issues they face.

"Nobody wants to see a single person living on the streets or in a situation where they feel they have no option but to do so. The number of individuals that we have been able to take off the streets is proof of the incredibly hard work taking place to tackle this very difficult issue.

Canterbury City Council has received a grant of almost £1 million to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness. Picture: stock
Canterbury City Council has received a grant of almost £1 million to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness. Picture: stock

"That hard work must continue, so this funding will help that to happen and make a real difference to many people's lives.”

Recent figures showed one in 99 children in the country are homeless.

In February last year reporter Jack Dyson took to the streets of Canterbury to find out what it's like sleeping rough.

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