Vulnerable long-term rough sleepers in Croydon will get new specialist housing and wraparound support by Christmas after the council successfully bid for a £500,000 Government grant.
Croydon Council will work with local housing associations, charities and the voluntary sector to provide 10 one-bedroom flats for rough sleepers, as well as support for their medical needs, including their mental health and any substance misuse.
The scheme is aimed at the most vulnerable rough sleepers, who often have a history of street homelessness, with causes such as heavy debt, family breakdown, long periods with no stable home, high risk of abuse and significant mental and physical health problems.
The scheme is based on the principles of Housing First, where vulnerable homeless people receive accommodation on the sole condition that they maintain their tenancy, rather than needing to meet more detailed criteria. This means that the homeless person has more time and space to settle into their accommodation, get the support they need and become less likely to return to the streets.
The funding, granted by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), will also pay for the council’s Gateway division and its third-sector partners to develop a small Housing First team, including advisors with personal experience of being homeless. Each homeless person in the scheme will get a key worker who will help them access a range of support services, including psychiatry, drug treatment, help with skills and employability training and benefits.
The council will now work on finding suitable flats in the borough, where the rough sleepers chosen for the scheme will be supported by their key workers. The flats will be a mix of social housing and private properties.
Croydon’s £510,210 funding was the seventh-highest out of 83 grants given by MHCLG to local authorities nationwide.
Councillor Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said: “The idea is to first give our most vulnerable people somewhere to call home, and this allows them to receive help for complex needs that previously could not be sustained by the usual homelessness services we provide.
“This major funding means the council and its partners can give specialist housing and the support needed to reduce the number of people rough sleeping in Croydon.
“The Government only gives grants of this size if councils demonstrate their schemes can deliver results, so this decision is a real boost for Croydon’s approach to tackling homelessness with our partners.”