New homes will support rough sleepers in Runnymede

Maggie Ward and Cllr Jacqui Gracey next to an open door leading to a kitchen
Cllr Jacqui Gracey, Chair of Housing Committee, and Maggie Ward, Head of Housing Services and Business Planning.

Three rough sleepers with complex needs will be found new homes thanks to a new scheme launched by Runnymede Borough Council.

The Council has bought three one-bedroom units which will be used to house people whose needs are not met by traditional housing. The two one-bedroom flats, and the single one-bedroom house have been bought following several successful bids for funding.

The funding has not only secured the accommodation, but also covers wrap-around support. As part of the scheme, the Council has agreed a contact with an organisation called Transform Housing and Support, which will provide the residents with support tailored to meet their needs. This will enable them to maintain their tenancy and eventually move on to independent housing. When this happens in future, the empty accommodation will be allocated to a new tenant.

The three people who will live in the new homes will be selected by the Council based on known needs and issues.

Cllr Jacqui Gracey, Chair of Runnymede Borough Council’s Housing Committee said, “we’re pleased to be following through on the practical commitments we have made to help the most vulnerable people in our community. Bringing in grants to help buy these homes has reduced the burden on the Runnymede taxpayer whilst also fulfilling one of the most important roles we have as a Council, supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. I hope the help we will provide can genuinely turn people’s lives around.”

To make the purchase of these three units possible, the Council received £225K following a successful Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme bid and a further £130K through a Rough Sleeping Initiative bid, both funds are part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (now known as DLUHC, Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities) commitment to ending rough sleeping. Runnymede Borough Council have contributed approximately £300,000. You can read more about our successful grant applications here.

There is one unit in each of our major towns – Egham, Chertsey and Addlestone. They are all designed for single people, and the occupier will be expected to be able to move onto traditional accommodation within 24 months.

By supporting those at risk of homelessness into secure and supported accommodation at an early stage, Runnymede Borough Council aims to reduce the damage that can be caused when intervening at a later date.

The Council’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy can be found on our website. It commits the organisation to “focus on early intervention, ensuring our households are supported and signposted at the earliest opportunity to resolve their housing difficulty. To provide a tailored and holistic service to our households to prevent them from becoming homeless.”

If you are, or if you know of anyone who is currently at risk of homelessness, you can reach out to our Housing Navigator.

The best way for members of the public to support rough sleepers is by donating money to a registered charity rather than directly to people on the street. Experienced organisations will make a greater impact with your donation. Charities work collaboratively with the Council, meaning that once the charity has made contact with a rough sleeper, it is more likely the Council can offer additional support by helping them off the streets and into secure accommodation.

The following charities provide support to rough sleepers in our Borough:

Just a Helping Hand

The Salvation Army

Runnymede Foodbank

Published: 15 July 2022