Mansfield District Council has been awarded £318,273 in government funding to help prevent homelessness in the district.
The ring-fenced funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will be used for projects that are in line with the principles of the Homelessness Reduction Act.
The council has a statutory duty to comply with the Act and deliver effective homelessness prevention services. The grant is given to all local housing authorities to enable them to deliver on their homeless strategy action plans.
Mansfield's allocation will be used to undertake and support homelessness prevention activities or to deal directly with people at risk of losing a roof over their head in ways that support the district's homelessness and rough sleepers strategy.
It will also provide support to those households who have struggled during the pandemic to pay their rent.
The council launched its Homelessness Prevention Strategy, with a five-year action plan, three years ago and will continue to work with all relevant partners on themes identified in the strategy to try to reduce homelessness in the area including a target to permanently reduce the number of rough sleepers.
Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, House and Wellbeing, said: “There is no set approach to reducing homelessness as every area's circumstances are different.
"Homelessness is not something that one single agency can prevent; it takes a range of options and support from many organisations working in partnership with the council.
"Ideally we would like to see no-one sleeping out in the Mansfield district and the council’s ground-breaking project work in this area in recent years with First Steps scheme has gone a long way to achieving that ambition.
“But we mustn’t take our finger off the pulse to ensure we continue to tackle homelessness in all its forms in a variety of long-term, holistic and effective ways. This funding will allow the council to continue this vital work and continue taking this joined up approach with local agencies.”
The First Steps project, which is supported by separate government funding, is the first scheme of his kind in Nottinghamshire and is based on Housing First principles than have been used successfully to reduce street sleeping in other parts of the world.
It offers rough sleepers accommodation alongside wraparound support services for issues such as mental health and drug and alcohol addiction and is being delivered in partnership with Action Housing and Change Grow Live (CGL).
The annual rough sleeper street count in 2020 saw seven rough sleepers in the district, down from 22 in 2019. The figure remained low at 10 in 2021.
Between April and September 2021, the council dealt with 617 homelessness enquires, ranging from those simply wanting advice on homelessness and those who were homeless that night.
Of those, most (435) were cases that were closed after appropriate advice to prevent homelessness.
Of the remaining cases, 52 were where officers either worked to prevent the applicant becoming homeless and rehoused them, or involved an applicant who was already homeless and for whom the council secured accommodation.
A total of 41 involved private sector landlords issuing a section 21 eviction notice, 26 because they want to sell the property and 16 because the tenant had rent arrears. Other significant causes for homelessness have been where families evicted their children (26), relationship breakdown (24) and domestic abuse (18).
Anyone at risk of becoming homeless is urged to contact the council at the earliest opportunity for help and advice. Support is available to help with rent or mortgage arrears and to find alternative accommodation. Visit the council website's housing section (link opens in new window) for support for those facing homelessness or call 01623 463463.
If you see anyone sleeping rough in the district, contact Framework’s Street Outreach 24-hour hotline on 0800 066 5356 or via Streetlink website (link opens in new window) to ensure they are offered the necessary support.
Visit the Mansfield Street Support website (link opens in new window) to find out how best to help rough sleepers in a long term and sustainable way, rather than through giving cash. It is more beneficial to donate money, non-perishable food or warm clothing to an existing organisation.