Taunton Deane Borough Council has received another cash boost from central Government to help tackle the problem of rough sleeping.
The Council has been awarded £210,739 from the Rough Sleeping Initiative Fund which forms part of the Rough Sleeping Strategy.
It received £231,590 in June 2018 which paid for specialist support to assist rough sleepers into accommodation and through the transition to independent living.
The recent allocation is recognition of the results achieved so far and will enable the Council to continue its work.
Taunton Deane Borough Council has been working with partners including the Police, ARC (formerly Taunton Association for the Homeless), The Open Door, Somerset County Council and other support agencies to ensure that appropriate and necessary steps are being taken with every individual rough sleeper prioritising those that are causing anti-social behaviour.
The “Streetwise” multi-agency team, funded by TDBC, is operating both proactively and reactively to identify and address the issues of rough sleeping, begging and anti-social behaviour; and develop a joined-up service for rough sleepers to help them break the cycle of homelessness and addiction.
Initiatives so far have included street wardens on patrol in Taunton town centre to provide reassurance for shoppers and visitors, and support to rough sleepers.
A Diverted Giving scheme which means that people can donate money directly to the local charity Open Door rather than giving directly to people begging on the streets. Open Door uses the cash to provide meals, showers, laundry and support to rough sleepers from its base in Mount Street.
Shine a Light week to address the health and wellbeing issues faced by the street homeless. Throughout the week rough sleepers were given food and shelter at a night café with free health check, access to social services; and advice on finding accommodation, benefits and support.
As a result of this work the number of rough sleepers in Taunton has dropped by more than a third.
The Streetwise agencies continue to work proactively to provide the necessary support to individual rough sleepers who are benefitting from this as well as the wider community.