Thousands of pounds have been awarded to local authorities in Reading and West Berkshire to help get rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) will get £647,099, while West Berkshire Council will get £475,009 of the government funding.

A total of £112million of Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI) funding has been awarded to councils across the UK.

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This is the third year this type of funding has been awarded and the latest programme was announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP on Tuesday morning (January 28).

Councillor John Ennis, RBC’s lead member for Housing, said: “RBC commits a lot of resources into preventing homelessness and supporting rough sleepers into accommodation and this government funding is very welcome news.

“The award will allow us to continue many of the important initiatives which have been created with the help of previous years’ funding.

“Homelessness and rough sleeping continue to be a major concern both locally and nationally and I am pleased the council has secured this funding to keep up this essential work with its partners.”

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The Rough Sleeping Initiative was launched in 2018 to give local areas a boost to help provide vital services for those living on the streets.

In the last two years, RBC says the RSI funding has allowed it to:

  • Create new homelessness support services
  • Fund extra street outreach workers
  • Extend the operation of the FAITH Christian Group night shelter
  • Provide additional emergency bed spaces
  • Fund a rough sleeper co-ordinator and additional officers to support people into independent accommodation.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “No-one should have to face a night on the street and we have a moral duty to support those who need help the most.

“It is encouraging to see more people getting the support they need, but there is always more to do.

“We are focusing relentlessly on this issue and our efforts have already led to the first nationwide fall in rough sleeping in a decade.

“The areas funded by our RSI have seen rough sleeping numbers fall around a third more than they would be without this vital programme, but we need to go further.

“That is why we are providing this funding so vital work can continue as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.”