Published: Wednesday, 6th February 2019

The Minister for Housing and Homelessness has commended Medway Council on its efforts to support the homeless.

MP Heather Wheeler visited Medway on Thursday, 31 January, to learn more about Medway’s work to provide homeless people and rough sleepers with somewhere safe and warm to go.

Medway provides support throughout the year - whatever the weather conditions - to rough sleepers, the homeless and people at risk of becoming homeless.

The minister said how ‘proud’ she was of what Medway had achieved and that the measures put in place to recognise local issues and address them had been ‘hugely successful’. 

The unitary authority has benefited from government funding to further support the services on offer for vulnerable people. The funding has been used to set up an outreach service for rough sleepers, as well as increasing the help available at support accommodation for people with more complex needs, and starting a housing first programme to provide intensive support to vulnerable residents.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Heather Wheeler MP said: “During my visit to Medway I was able to see the council’s excellent work which is underway to support rough sleepers and get them off the streets for good.  The number of vulnerable people sleeping on our streets has now fallen for the first time in eight years. I am pleased to see our strategy to end rough sleeping, backed by £100m, is starting to have an effect and the results in Medway are particularly encouraging.

“But while these figures are a step in the right direction, I do not underestimate the task ahead in achieving our ambition of eliminating rough sleeping altogether.”

Cllr Howard Doe, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, said: “Thank you to the new Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Heather Wheeler, for taking her time to visit Medway and see our work to help some of the most vulnerable people. We work hard in Medway to provide the support and services all of our communities need and deserve. Help is available all year round for rough sleepers, the homeless and those who are facing homelessness, and we also commission a range of accommodation options to help get people off the streets.

“We were extremely pleased to have been awarded almost £1million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to further support our work. This funding has also allowed us to start a housing first programme which ensures that dedicated support is provided to vulnerable people who have been helped into accommodation. We are also proud that Medway is one of the 11 areas across the country which has received funding to provide a Somewhere Safe to Stay Centre. The Medway centre offers support around the clock and has basic facilities, such as showers. It provides somewhere warm and safe for rough sleepers to be referred to, and can even offer a place for those at immediate risk of sleeping on the street. We will continue to support all of our residents, and especially those who find themselves in a vulnerable position.” 

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