Stoke-on-Trent Council Receives a 200k+ Cash Boost to Help Rough Sleepers in the City

In January 2024, the Stoke-on-Trent Council was reported to have received a total of £209,140 from The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to support the most vulnerable residents in the City. This grant came as an addition to the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), an emergency accommodation help triggered during extreme weather conditions. 

According to Councillor Chris Robinson, the cabinet member for housing, the money would help the Stoke-on-Trent City Council provide extra resources for rough sleepers and those at risk of sleeping rough in the City. 

The funding came at a time when the Stoke-on-Trent Council was reportedly facing a difficult time balancing its budget to save essential services. So, here is how it decided to allocate the funds to address the issue: 

How the Funding was to be Utilised 

The Council aims to prevent homelessness and address the issue of rough sleeping in the City. So, to ensure it offers the necessary support needed to achieve this, here is how it planned to allocate the recent grant: 

  1. Acquisition of additional bedding: Some of the money would help the planners get extra bedding to accommodate off-the-street, rough sleepers and those with complex needs. According to the Council, Adullam Homes and Brighter Futures housing association was tasked with delivering up to 10 new night shelter beds. 
  2. Pay for a Worker's accommodation: Since such projects require staffing, some of the money would be allocated for complex needs support, according to the Council. This included hiring a support worker to assist people with mental health and addiction access the Hanley Connect Homeless Hub. Brighter Futures would deliver this program on behalf of the Council.
  3. Set tenancies in the privately rented sector: The rest of the money would help individuals get housing in privately owned rental properties. 

The Problem of Rough Sleeping in Stoke-On-Trent  

While all businesses in the UK, offline and online, must pay taxes on their income, thousands of individuals still require social care support in the City. For instance, online lottery sites selling lottery tickets from around the world are subject to a 15% duty from their earnings, with other businesses paying between 19% and 25%. 

But despite all this money being collected, local governments in the UK still face difficulties handling rough sleeping in various locations. This issue can be attributed to the fact that the Central government reduced its grants by 40% between 2009 and 2010. Since then, local authorities have had to find ways to do more with less. 

Stoke-on-Trent is among the local governments struggling with this issue. In September 2023, the Stoke-on-Trent Council raised concerns about its inability to set a balanced budget for the 2024/25 financial year. The Council cited the rise in demand for its care services and the challenging economic environment. 

However, Stoke-on-Trent received £800,000 from the government to help individuals with a long history of living in the streets. The Council is reported to have bid for £1.5 million from the fund, which would allow Brighter Futures to create additional accommodation units consisting of 31 extra beds in Hanley. 

Moreover, the City is reported to have received more than £700,000 in the previous three years from RSAP (The Rough Sleeping Accommodation Program) for the same reason. 

Nonetheless, there's no one particular reason why the number of people sleeping rough in the UK is on the rise. This is a complex issue since everyone has their own reasons —both personal and environmental. But it's reported that most rough sleepers in these cities suffer from mental or physical problems. 

About The Rough Sleepers Team 

Typically, the Rough Sleepers Team provides help to individuals sleeping rough within the Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle Borough Council's boundaries. The team is always out looking for these individuals, and once it finds them, it ensures the people sleeping rough get accommodated in a local hostel. The team also checks on rough sleepers' welfare and responds to reports from residents and business owners. 

Final Thought 

If you come across people sleeping rough or those at risk to the city council, the Stoke-on-Trent Council urges you to report such cases to them via the official website. You can also contact their Rough Sleepers team at 0800 970 2304 to report the matter. This number is toll-free.  

 

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