Council secures over £200,000 in grants to help homelessness initiatives

More than £200,000 of grants have been secured by Runnymede Borough Council during the past 12 months to help local people at risk of losing their homes, or who are already homeless.

The Council has secured six new separate grants, which will help to

  • Cover the cost of temporary accommodation such as bed and breakfast
  • Support local homelessness charities
  • Purchase two emergency sleep pods to provide shelter from the weather for rough sleepers
  • Pay for staff to proactively support local people to reduce the risk of becoming homeless
  • Introduce a Housing First scheme in the Borough, in partnership with Two Saints. This will provide a home and wrap around support for five people with complex needs
  • Create a £10,000 fund which eligible people can apply to for help meeting individual needs
  • Assist ex-offenders who have left prison, helping them to avoid homelessness by supporting them to find a home in the private rented sector

The grants included £130,000 from Rough Sleeper Initiative, a Government fund for innovative ways to support rough sleepers. In addition £52,240 was secured from the Next Step Accommodation Programme, £6,400 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Cold Weather Fund to help to support rough sleepers and homeless people during adverse weather, £5,000 via the Project Plus scheme and £1,650 in Covid-19 support.

The final grant will see Runnymede receive £18,607 from the MHCLG – a share of a wider six figure grant to councils across Surrey to help offenders. In this Borough it is expected five people can be supported as a result. The grant will also help the Probation Service to recruit a worker to provide support county-wide.

The Council receives other grants such as the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant every year, but these six specific grants are all new funding for Runnymede. They are an example of how the Council is working innovatively to support local people by securing new income from outside organisations to help pay for services we provide.

Using the grant funds, the Council has been able to donate £200 to The Salvation Army and £1,000 to local charity JustAHelpingHand.

Cllr Jacqui Gracey, Chair of the Council’s Housing Committee, said

Working with partners across the community is crucial to providing flexible support for those who need it, and I am delighted Runnymede has secured this grant funding to help people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.

I am particularly pleased that we have been able to help JustAHelpingHand as they provide great resources for those in need, including a rucksack full of essential items for rough sleepers. These rucksacks give individuals something to own and this gesture can be the first step towards them engaging with services that they otherwise may not have done.

Items in the rucksacks can include blankets, clothing such as scarves, hats, gloves and coats, toiletries and other items like umbrellas, flasks and torches.

Collaborative working between the charity and the Council means that it is more likely the Council could offer additional support and help to get rough sleepers off the streets and into long term housing.

Find out more about JustAHelpingHand and how to donate to them

Read more about the Council’s homelessness support services

Published: 12 August 2021