Extra cash – and new social worker – for rough sleepers in Wiltshire

ROUGH sleepers in Wiltshire will have access to counselling and financial assistance thanks to new funding.

Trauma counselling and targeted financial assistance will be available after Wiltshire Council secured £306,795 of additional money from the government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative.

The funding is for the next two years, to provide extra support to those who are trying to turn their life around after living on the streets.

A number of areas, including appointing a new rough sleeper social worker post in the mental health social care team, are set to be boosted by the money.

The social worker will support rough sleepers with mental health issues to help them engage with health services and receive appropriate support.

The funding will also be used to:
• Provide private counselling sessions for those who have a history of trauma
• Top up the personalisation budget, which helps rough sleepers with transport to appointments, birth certificates, furniture for their new home as well as funding for meaningful occupation such as transport to volunteering opportunities
• Top up the existing hotel and bed and breakfast budget – allowing the council to make off-the-street offers to rough sleepers as a temporary measure to help them get back on track and engage with services
• Top up the existing Private Rented Sector incentive – to financially support rough sleepers with deposit and rent in advance into private rented accommodation

Cllr Phil Alford, cabinet member for housing, said: “We already work hard to help our rough sleepers turn their lives around and encourage them into a good place where they have a roof over their heads, a stable routine and can start to look to the future.

“I’m pleased we have many positive stories of this happening.

“However, we cannot ignore the fact many rough sleepers have mental health issues and they need support to address underlying issues as well as the material support.

“The appointment of a mental health social worker builds on the work we already do and expands the support and guidance we offer people.

“Our hope is, we can help more rough sleepers not only get their life back on track but keep going in the right direction.”

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