More than £130,000 spent to 'help get rough sleepers off the streets' in Fenland as new support facility opens in Wisbech
More than £130,000 has been spent in the Fens in a bid to tackle the region's homelessness issues and to "help rough sleepers get off the streets".
A new support hub has been opened at Octavia View in Wisbech and is set to provide specialist support for homeless people and those at risk of homelessness.
The facility, ran entirely by homeless charity The Ferry Project, was made possible thanks to £131,125 of government funding secured by Fenland District Council.
The charity already provides support and offers accommodation at Clarkson House hostel and emergency night shelters to those in need.
As part of the funding bid put together by the council, a mental health nurse was recruited to tackle "complex needs" and offer support to those at the Wisbech hub.
Councillor Samantha Hoy, the council's cabinet member for housing, said: "Tackling homelessness is more than just offering a bed for the night.
"It's about supporting people, understanding their circumstances and providing help so they can turn their lives around.
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"The Ferry project will be working in the HUB with our housing staff, the NHS and other services to ensure everyone in Fenland has access to professional guidance and help."
The hub is currently open 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, but the council plans to extend that and open seven days a week in the autumn season.
Cllr Hoy added: "The funding we secured from the government's Rough Sleeper Initiative will enable the hub to run for an initial 12-month pilot.
"We will need further commitment from the government to run it beyond its first year and really make a difference."
Keith Smith, founder and director of The Ferry Project, said: "It is another great service to help some of the most vulnerable people in Fenland off the streets and into their own home.
"It [the hub] demonstrates once again the excellent partnership working between Fenland District Council and local charities."
In addition to securing the Rough Sleeper Initiative funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), the council has successfully bid for two other homelessness grants from the MHCLG.
A spokesman for Fenland District Council revealed: "We have received £58,000 to prioritise homelessness prevention activity, carry out further homelessness activities and fund work to reduce or eliminate the use of emergency B&B.
"We received a further £35,000 for a rough sleeper coordinator role for one year, to coordinate outcomes for rough sleepers and ensure services are joined up to maximise positive outcomes for vulnerable people."