Innovative project to help rough sleepers off Mansfield's streets

Photo of Councillor Marion Bradshaw

An innovative project that will help up to 30 rough sleepers off the streets of Mansfield is to start this spring.

Mansfield District Council has been awarded £310,628 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to provide a specialist housing project, which is the first of its kind anywhere in Nottinghamshire outside the city.

The project, which will start in April, is based on a model called Housing First and will provide housing and intensive personalised support to those with multiple and complex needs. It aims to provide housing first, as a right, which allows other issues to be addressed - instead of providing housing last or as a reward.

Housing First, which is growing in popularity across Europe, has been widely adopted across the US, and is central to the national homelessness strategies in Canada, Denmark, Finland and France. Successful Housing First pilots are already taking place in various areas of the UK.

The Mansfield scheme will provide a total of 30 bed spaces, 20 of which will be in shared houses - each with two or three beds. In addition, there will be ten single properties across the district, two of which will be provided by the council and others by housing associations working in partnership with the council.

The vast majority of the funding will be used to employ seven specialist staff from Action Housing, Change Grow Live and Tuntum Housing Association, who will provide support around substance misuse, employment and teach skills to live independently.

The funding will also provide ongoing support including covering the costs of clients to attend Job Centre appointments and job interviews, as well as providing bonds and rent in advance when they are ready to move on into other accommodation.

Councillor Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Mansfield District Council, said: “This funding will make a huge difference to the work we are already doing to reduce homelessness.

“One of the main challenges we face is a shortage of suitable accommodation. The carefully selected properties and wraparound support will give service users the best possible chance of making long-term changes to their lifestyles.

“Through our winter shelter and specialist outreach teams we have already identified a number of people who we think could benefit from this kind of scheme because their needs are not catered for elsewhere.”

There was a slight increase in the number of rough sleepers counted in Mansfield district during an annual snapshot survey.

As part of the national count that takes place on a single night once a year, 22 people were found to be rough sleeping in Mansfield district. This is up from 17 at the 2018 count and 15 in 2017.

The survey was carried out on 5 November 2019 by Framework's Street Outreach Team and other volunteers, who visited more than 100 locations across the district. 

Over the past year, Mansfield District Council has worked with Framework to help 14 rough sleepers access appropriate support and accommodation. The council has also helped to prevent hundreds of people from becoming homeless through early interventions.

Mansfield is also set to benefit from some of the £836,916.60 that has been awarded to Nottinghamshire County Council for use in all the districts and boroughs.

For further information about how you can help our street community by volunteering or donating money or items to existing projects, visit the Mansfield Street Support website (opens in new window).

If you see someone who is homeless, please contact the Framework Street Outreach 24-hour hotline on 0800 066 5356 or via the Streetlink website (opens in new window) to ensure they are offered the necessary support.

Published: January 28th 2020