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by administrator @, Tuesday, December 01, 2009, 10:53

One year on from the launch of the No One Left Out strategy to end rough sleeping, further action to stem the flow of new rough sleepers coming onto the street and reach entrenched rough sleepers is well underway, according to a progress report.

Funding has been provided to help hundreds of rough sleepers find homes in the private rented sector through the Small Grants programme. Through this, councils can help provide deposits so that rough sleepers are able to secure privately rented accommodation.

A mentoring and befriending scheme has also been established for vulnerable housed rough sleepers to help the stay in their accommodation and begin to make friends and new social support networks in their community.

Ian Austin, Homelessness Minister, said: "We have achieved a lot in the past year, kick-starting the new and innovative ideas outlined in the Rough Sleeping Strategy. But meeting our target of ending rough sleeping by 2012 will depend upon the continued hard work of Government departments, local authorities, the voluntary sector and other agencies dealing with rough sleeping.

"Together we must maintain this momentum and continue the drive to find, and put in place, long-term solutions to tackle rough sleeping."

Other achievements include close working between the health service and other agencies to make sure that rough sleepers who find themselves in hospital or provision don't just end up back on the streets when they are discharged; and a bus outreach team in London funded by CLG and Transport for London to engage and help rough sleepers who are sleeping on the back of buses in the capital.

Also achieved were advisory visits by a team of experts to more than 80 local authorities across England to support councils in taking steps to tackle rough sleeping in their area; and establishment of a variety of reconnections services for destitute rough sleepers from the Eastern European states that have seen hundreds of rough sleepers voluntarily returned to their home countries with the necessary support to make that move a positive one.

Jenny Edwards, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said: "Tremendous progress has been made in the last year towards our goal of ending rough sleeping by 2012. We are particularly encouraged by CLG's leadership in driving support from other national government departments and their willingness to pilot new approaches, such as the hospital discharge protocol, in partnership with the NHS, which aims to prevent people leaving hospital with nowhere to go.

"We know we need to join up support so that people can rebuild their lives. But we must not become complacent, especially at this time of intense economic and social pressure. We must constantly seek to learn from others and push ahead if we are finally to close the door into rough sleeping in every community."

rough sleeping

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