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Liverpool City Council is to spend an additional £1 million tackling homelessness over the next two years.
The funding of £948,000 in the form of the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant from the Government is designed to help prevent people from ending up in a position where they are at risk of losing the roof over their head.
A report to the council’s Cabinet on Friday 4 August is recommending using the money to increase the number of staff in the Housing Options Service which helps people find new accommodation, and providing more outreach support for vulnerable people.
It is in addition to the council’s existing budget of £10.8 million for homelessness which is spent on a range of services including temporary accommodation and housing as well as help for rough sleepers and people with complex needs.
Councillor Paul Brant, Cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “We have taken great care to protect homelessness services from reductions in funding despite the huge cuts that we have faced in recent years but it is a struggle due to welfare reforms and austerity which have left many more people vulnerable.
“We will be using this additional funding to prevent people from becoming homeless rather than picking up the pieces when somebody has lost their home and I would like to thank our staff who have worked hard to secure this valuable extra money.”
Councillor Frank Hont, Cabinet member for housing, added: “The most visible sign of homelessness is rough sleeping but this is just one aspect of homelessness and a small minority of the 6,000 households that we help every year.
“The vast majority of people on the streets have turned down the offer of temporary accommodation, usually due to complex needs such as substance misuse or mental health issues. In addition, we know there are also professional beggars who come to Liverpool to con shoppers and workers out of their hard earned money by pretending to be homeless.
“This is a hugely complex issue but one we are resolutely focused on tackling, whether it is identifying and helping those who are at risk, working with partners such as the Whitechapel Centre to help rough sleepers into new accommodation or encouraging people to contact us through the No Second Night Out programme if they see someone sleeping on the streets.”
The grant comes in two tranches, with £448,800 in 2017/18 and £499,634 in 2018/19.