Swindon Borough Council is to receive £650,000 from the Government to provide secure accommodation for rough sleepers.

The money will allow the Council to provide ‘move on’ accommodation for people sleeping rough, or at risk of sleeping rough.

It is part of the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme, which supports local authorities and their partners to prevent people from returning to the streets.

The Council is matching the £650,000 with an extra £350,000, which will bring the available pot up to £1 million.

This will allow the Council to purchase 10 single-bed properties to house rough sleepers under the Housing First scheme. Housing First focuses on ensuring people are provided with accommodation and are given specialist, tailored support to enable them to keep their tenancy.

The properties will be added to the Council’s housing stock and clients will initially go in as temporary tenants. Work is currently underway to identify suitable properties to purchase.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “I welcome this extra money from Government, and the additional funds from the Council, which should go a long way towards allowing us to continue the work we are doing for rough sleepers in Swindon.

“Some of our Housing First clients have challenging and complex needs, and some may have been unable to sustain tenancies in the past. A lack of available accommodation is sometimes a hurdle in allowing us to progress our Housing First approach, so being able to purchase these extra properties and provide more intensive, individualised support is a huge step forward.”

As part of the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative, which launched at the start of the first lockdown back in March, the Council worked with its partners to ensure rough sleepers were housed.

Twenty-five rough sleepers, which included those who were at risk of rough sleeping, were given accommodation at the Great Western Hotel on Station Road, and food and essential supplies were provided for them throughout their stay.

When the second nation-wide lockdown comes into force on Thursday (5 Nov), the Council will continue to work with staff at the GW Hotel to ensure rough sleepers are housed.