£1.75m grant to provide 25 houses for homeless helped off street amid pandemic

A £1.75 million grant will help provide 25 houses for homeless people who were helped off the street during the coronavirus pandemic.

The grant will help provide safe accommodation across Sandwell, Walsall, Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry – and work is underway to ensure the properties are ready to live in by March 31, 2021.

Citizen, a social housing provider, has worked with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to submit the successful bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Homes England.

The funding has been awarded as part of the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation programme, which aims to provide homes for homeless people identified during the recent Everybody In campaign.

The Everybody In initiative was rolled out nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure people who were sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness, were protected and supported into emergency accommodation. Recently the Government confirmed it would make a further £10m available nationally to support rough sleepers.

The £1.75m grant will support local authorities and their partners to continue much needed support to prevent a return to the streets.

Chief executive at Citizen and chairman of West Midlands Housing Association Partnership, Kevin Rodgers, said: “It’s fantastic that we have been successful with this bid to provide extra accommodation across the West Midlands for people who really need it and it’s great to be working with the West Midlands Combined Authority on tackling homelessness.

“Homelessness is a serious issue and we are committed to playing our part. In our business strategy one of our objectives is to improve our support services and tackle homelessness.

"By 2023 we hope to have an additional 76 new homes that will provide temporary accommodation – and it’s great to see that this initiative will in part help us to achieve this ambition.

“I am excited and optimistic to deliver this project and support those who have found themselves homeless or sleeping rough.”

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to be working with Citizen on this new venture.

“The impact of Covid-19 has presented the region with unprecedented challenges. Local authorities have done a remarkable job in protecting our most vulnerable citizens by offering support to every person known to be rough sleeping in the region.

“This funding will now help our continued joint efforts and ensure that people are supported to build a life away from the streets for good.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Citizen for partnering with us. I am confident that it will be a success and hope that this will lead to further collaboration next year.”

Councillor Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council and chairwoman of the WMCA Homelessness Taskforce Members Advisory Group said: “This money will further tackle homelessness across the West Midlands.

“We have worked hard to help protect the wellbeing of some of our most vulnerable citizens and this new grant is an example of how we are continuing to work with our partners across the region to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping.”

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