Funding to help vulnerable people stay off the streets and move into more permanent accommodation has been secured by Barnsley Council and South Yorkshire authorities. The £400,000 grant will be spent throughout the region to provide additional outreach services over the next two years.
The money is allowing the council to appoint a specialist mental health support worker, dedicated to helping rough sleepers and those at risk of ending up on the streets.
Cllr Jenny Platts, Cabinet Spokesperson for Communities, said: “Being homeless is a terrible situation for anyone to be in. Evidence shows that mental health issues feature highly amongst this population. We are working to provide the wrap-around support needed for rough sleepers to come off the streets as well as ensure people don’t end up there in the first place.”
Although homelessness is on the rise nationally, the numbers have been relatively stable over the last couple of years in Barnsley. A Homeless Prevention Strategy is set to be developed to address the issues within the borough. It will consider the government’s Homeless Reduction Act 2017 and the impact of welfare reform changes. The new plan will align with the work of Barnsley’s Safer Neighbourhoods Service (SNS). The SNS is led by the council and South Yorkshire Police and is a collaborative approach to community safety and neighbourhood policing.
Cllr Platts added: “Homelessness takes many forms including sofa surfing, rough sleeping and being given notice to leave accommodation. Many of those who’ve approached us have multiple and complex needs, including mental health, offending and substance misuse. Engaging with these residents is a key priority for the team.”
Residents who are concerned about someone sleeping rough are encouraged to notify the council through Street Link www.streetlink.org.uk