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West Suffolk Council to help rough sleepers with healthcare service

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A new service offering supported accommodation with personalised healthcare to people who have previously been rough sleeping, is being launched in West Suffolk.

West Suffolk Council has already invested in extra accommodation as well as securing funds from the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) for longer term accommodation for people with medium to high support needs.

But now, using £30,000 of funding secured for one year from West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, the council will be working with clinicians from the Marginalised Vulnerable Adult (MVA) service to provide personalised healthcare to people who have previously been rough sleeping.

West Suffolk Council will be using £30,000 in funding for the new healthcare service.
West Suffolk Council will be using £30,000 in funding for the new healthcare service.

Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, cabinet member for housing at the council, said: "We have been working for a number of years to reduce rough sleeping in West Suffolk, investing in as well as securing government funds for different types of accommodation and support needs.

"This initiative to provide personalised healthcare is very much part of that ethos and we are delighted to be working in partnership with the MVA and CCG to offer this new service.”

The aim of the new service is to tailor support around the individual and provide whatever physical or mental health services they need.

It forms part of wider work of the council designed to improve outcomes for individuals and stop the pattern of homelessness from reoccurring.

Mark Hayes, operations manager for the MVA service said: “We are delighted to be working with West Suffolk Council to offer this personalised healthcare service to people who are homeless and have previously been rough sleeping.

"Our focus will be on tailoring this support around each individual’s needs. Our aim is to bring real benefits to people in the area who were previously sleeping rough, as part of the support already in place, to help them access healthcare services and move forward in rebuilding their lives.”

Despite the challenges around Covid, the council has continued to reduce rough sleeping through accommodation and support.

In September 2018, when the rough sleeper support team was first set up, there were 36 rough sleepers in West Suffolk, now there are currently five people, all of whom have declined offers of accommodation.

Anyone who sees someone they suspect is rough sleeping is asked to report it to the council team via www.streetlink.org.uk.

Read more: All the latest news from Suffolk