Bedford Borough has received a boost to reduce homeless and rough sleeping in the area.
The council was successful in a £623,000 bid for two years additional funding to tackle the issue.
The new Rough Sleeper Street Outreach Service will provide outreach and support to rough sleepers across Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton Borough and Milton Keynes.
Working in partnership across this area, the service will work to prevent or reduce the length of time anyone spends on the streets by assessing individual’s needs and offer individual support around key issues such as accommodation, health and benefits.
In more complex cases ‘Crisis Intervention Workers’ will ensure individuals have more intensive support.
This will increase their ability to sustain any accommodation secured for them, providing better access to longer term support to meet their specific needs.
In addition, the new service will make contact with all identified and potential rough sleepers across the region and manage referrals from partner agencies, the national ‘StreetLink’ helpline and the general public.
It is estimated that the service will work with an estimated 700 people in the region over the next two years, targeting not only rough sleepers but also those at risk of becoming rough sleepers to prevent them moving on to the streets.
Councillor Colleen Atkins said: “Our new Rough Sleeper Street Outreach Service will work to, not only reduce the number of people currently rough sleeping, but also to protect the vulnerable in our community from ending up on the street.
“Homelessness in never inevitable no matter what your needs are.
“Bedford Borough Council is already working hard to tackle this issue but this funding will allow us go even further in helping those who need it most across the region, ensuring that all our residents have a safe place to stay.”