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Slice of multi-million pound fund to help region's rough sleepers

PUBLISHED: 08:56 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:12 08 April 2019

East Suffolk Council has received a £200,000 government grant to help rough sleepers in the region. Picture: PA

East Suffolk Council has received a £200,000 government grant to help rough sleepers in the region. Picture: PA

A region is set to benefit from a government grant earmarked for getting rough sleepers off the streets.

Access Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer has welcomed a £200,000 government grant to help rough sleepers in the region. Picture: Julian ClaxtonAccess Community Trust chief executive Emma Ratzer has welcomed a £200,000 government grant to help rough sleepers in the region. Picture: Julian Claxton

East Suffolk Council has been given £202,150 as part of a government initiative started in March 2018, brought in by then communities secretary Sajid Javid with the aim of reducing rough sleeping.

The plan included a new ‘Rough Sleeping Team’ made up of rough sleeping and homelessness experts from government departments and specialist agencies across areas including housing, mental health and addiction.

A £30m fund was also set aside for local authorities with high numbers of people sleeping rough.

This latest funding boost will, for another year, aid Lowestoft-based Access Community Trust’s MEAM (Making Every Adult Matter) Team in their efforts to deliver better coordinated services for people experiencing disadvantage.

East Suffolk Council has received a £200,000 government grant to help rough sleepers in the region. Picture: Getty imagesEast Suffolk Council has received a £200,000 government grant to help rough sleepers in the region. Picture: Getty images

Outreach workers, a mental health practitioner and a rough sleeper coordinator will be solely focused on working with those sleeping on the streets, providing increased support and helping to find accommodation for those in need.

“Ultimately we are looking to help as many people as we can and we are working with local agencies to support those who are rough sleeping out on the streets,” said Access’ chief executive, Emma Ratzer.

“The biggest thing this money does is fund the outreach staff who are out on the streets supporting the rough sleepers, as well as getting people to the doctor’s. Each individual who is suffering has their own challenges so we have to tailor our response to specific people.

“Some people spend so long on the streets that they get used to being outside. With the right kind of support we can bring people back in, but unfortunately there are some rough sleepers that you just can’t help.”

Cairistine Foster-Cannan, head of housing at East Suffolk Council, added: “We are committed to increasing the support available to people sleeping rough and preventing homelessness by tackling the underlying causes.

“We are also increasing the supply of suitable accommodation by working with private landlords and partners across the district.”

From 11am to 2pm, Access Community Trust will host an open day for the Lowestoft MEAM Team on Tuesday, April 30, at Sam’s Coffee House on Bevan Street East.

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