On 24 June 2020 the government announced £105m of funding for interim housing for rough sleepers. This is for those who are currently accommodated in hotels as part of the aim to take rough sleepers off the streets during the Coronavirus pandemic. The funding will help those rough sleepers to secure their own tenancies, or short term accommodation before they move into a more permanent home. With help towards deposits, securing ready to use rooms such as student accommodation, and further support with education and substance abuse.
In Cornwall, Coastline Housing has partnered with Cornwall Council to help homeless people in the county. For many, it is a surprise to hear that homelessness is a problem in Cornwall. But from 2010 to 2017, the county was in the Top 10 of local authority areas for rough sleeping. Like many other rural areas Cornwall has a shortfall in quality, affordable housing. Only 10% of properties in Cornwall are social housing, compared to about 17% for England. Of the private rented housing stock that people must then fall back on nearly 50% does not meet the Decent Homes Standard.
Cornwall’s size and rural setting means that affordable homes, and the support services people rely on, are scattered far and wide, nearly two thirds of people live in places with populations of less than 3,000. But through the government’s Rough Sleeper Reduction Strategy, Cornwall Council, Coastline Housing and St Petrocs secured funding for ‘Nos Da Kernow’ (‘Goodnight Cornwall’ in Cornish).
Over a three-year period from 2017 to 2020, 650 people received support. It is estimated that this prevented 478 people from sleeping rough. But there is still a need, especially in a rural areas, to bring people together in a setting where high quality support can be provided. Coastline, in partnership with Cornwall Council and Home England, invested in a new direct access homeless centre in Pool. It is a place with 18 private rooms, a GP surgery, quiet rooms and a commercial kitchen. A place that when people moved in they said it finally felt like someone believed in them, and was willing to invest in their future.