South Kesteven, North Kesteven, South Holland and West Lindsey district councils are working together under the banner of Change4Lincs to support people known to be rough sleeping or at risk of having to do so. The project is due to be launched on Monday, 12 October.
The 14-strong Change4Lincs team is made up of a project co-ordinator, physical health nurse, four outreach workers, four tenancy support officers, two local lettings officers and two intensive support workers.
They aim to:
• Reduce, through prevention, the number of people at risk of rough sleeping
• Reduce the number of 'repeat' rough sleepers
• Reduce the number of rough sleepers who are likely to become entrenched
• Improve physical and mental health and wellbeing
• Provide effective support in settled accommodation
SKDC's Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, Cllr Robert Reid, said: "This is a genuine partnership approach across the four districts to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. Working together we will be helping some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
"The main aim is to reduce levels of rough sleeping by making contact with those who find themselves in that situation and enable them to access and sustain safe accommodation."
"The partnership faces significant challenges to successfully reducing, and ultimately preventing, rough sleeping going forward, but it is one they are prepared for."
North Kesteven District Council's executive member for housing, Cllr Ian Carrington, said: "The Change4Lincs team has got a very important role to play because last year 20 rough sleepers were identified across the four district council areas covered by the project.
"We now believe that this number has increased to about 80 due to changing or challenging personal circumstances, some of which are Covid-related, which mean people cannot afford, access or sustain suitable accommodation."
Christine Lawton, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health at South Holland District Council, said: "The sad reality is that families and individuals are facing increased financial hardship due to COVID and the threat of homelessness is a direct consequence of that.
"District councils, by their very nature being rooted in their local communities, can help families affected - whether that's through prevention, support to find settled accommodation or to help with financial and emotional needs. By working together, under the name of Change4Lincs, we can work with our partners to find the right solutions to best tackle homelessness and rough sleeping."
Cllr Owen Brierley, Chairman of the Prosperous Communities Committee at West Lindsey District Council, said: "Change4Lincs is a much welcomed partnership approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness.
"Not all homelessness is visible but for those sleeping in places not designed for living or those sleeping on a friends sofa it is great to know that this new service will provide the help and support needed to prevent them ending up on the streets."
The project is part of a Rough Sleeping Initiative announced by the Ministry for Communities and Local Government in March 2018 and has received a grant of almost £595,523.
The key challenges are:
• Securing emergency access to safe/supported accommodation
• Securing access to longer-term accommodation for single people
• Providing rough sleepers with access to, and help from, support agencies to improve their physical and mental health
An information booklet has been produced that is available from district council offices and support hubs. The booklet includes a QR code that takes users to http://www.southkesteven.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=15137 where more information about Change4Lincs is available along with contact details for all four councils:
South Kesteven District Council: www.southkesteven.gov.uk 01476 406080
North Kesteven District Council: www.n-kesteven.gov.uk 01529 414155
South Holland District Council: www.sholland.gov.uk 01775 761161
West Lindsey District Council: www.west-lindsey.gov.uk 01427676676