Rough sleepers in South Gloucestershire may not benefit from the government’s latest initiative, the district’s Conservative council has conceded.
At the Council meeting last week, Labour councillor April Begley questioned the impact on South Gloucestershire of the national Rough Sleepers Strategy, launched back in August. She was told that the district would not automatically receive any additional funding to address the issue. Instead, funds are to be awarded through a competitive bidding process.
In addition, she was told that the government has sent no specific guidance on implementing the strategy to the local authority.
Councillor April Begley says:
“I am very disappointed to discover that the national Rough Sleepers Strategy, which was launched with much fanfare in the summer, may not result in additional funds for us in South Gloucestershire. Surely funding to deal with rough sleeping should not be doled out through a bidding process.
Local councils would be well placed to support individual rough sleepers, who are very vulnerable. Additional resources could help us to nip problems in the bud in areas such as ours that are not regarded as hot spots. The cost – in terms of both money and stress – will inevitably be greater if the problem is not tackled.
Although I am unhappy about the competitive approach, I hope that South Gloucestershire Council will be doing all it can to win some additional funding.
Rough sleeping and homelessness, and indeed the whole affordable housing crisis, really needs to be at the top of the government’s agenda and properly resourced.”
22 October 2018