THE CITY COUNCIL has been handed more than £670,000 from the government to help rough sleepers get off the street.

The grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government guarantees services that support rough sleepers across Worcestershire and help them to get back into accommodation can continue and develop.

New initiatives will also be launched with the money, including a rough sleeper coordinator for Worcester, who would organise multi-agency responses to rough sleepers, and two new homeless prevention officers.

The additional co-ordinator would focus on Worcester, which has the highest proportion of rough sleepers in the county.

The money is not a cash injection by the government but allows the the six district councils in Worcestershire to continue their work with on-the-ground partners including Caring for Communities and People (CCP), Maggs Day Centre and St Paul’s Hostel and local housing providers.

Councillor James Stanley, chairman of Worcester City Council’s communities committee, said: “Rough sleepers are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“This latest round of funding will help us and our partners to provide a range of services that will help people to get off the streets and receive the specialist support they need to secure a long-term home.”

The most recently published figure showed there were 53 people sleeping rough in Worcestershire in 2018.

The 2019 figure is due to be released by the government next month.

A service that will be able to continue being provided because of the money includes the Somewhere Safe To Stay centre based at Worcester’s Salvation Army Centre which provides 24/7 support to rough sleepers who have shown a clear commitment to coming off the streets.