#Southend to spearhead a campaign to help the homeless
12th March 2012
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Southend to spearhead campaign to help homeless

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has for the second time, been chosen to lead south Essex’s efforts to help homeless people.

The borough, previously picked by the Department for Communities and Local Government as the Lead Authority for Rough Sleeping in South Essex, has again been specially selected – this time to spearhead the campaign to tackle single homelessness.

As a result, the Council is in charge of administering a £391,000 grant from a newly-announced national £20 million package of support for single homeless people.

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Executive Councillor for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, Councillor Lesley Salter said: “To receive this grant is major recognition of the expertise we have in the borough for being in the regional forefront of helping homeless people.

“We will use this to create an initial action plan to develop alongside our counterparts in neighbouring authorities, as well as voluntary organisations, to ensure the very best use of the funding.

“We will research existing best practice, potential impacts of the Welfare Reform Bill and other changes, and then draw up robust measures to support individuals who fall outside the usual categories of legal protection.”

When announcing the national funding, Housing Minister Grant Shapps explained that under homelessness legislation, single people were often not classed as "priority need" cases because they had no dependents. This often means they are left with fewer housing options - forced to spend nights 'sofa surfing' at friends' houses, in their car or even on the street. Mr Shapps has asked Councils to work together locally to decide how best to use this cash to meet local needs most effectively. Local authority homeless practitioners will offer active training on innovative ways to prevent single homelessness as part of existing services. Also, Homeless Link, working with other voluntary organisations, is developing best practice guidance for local authorities to give clear and useful advice and assistance to someone not in priority need.

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