Brendan Gilligan

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Prime Minister pledges £20 million to tackle rough sleeping

Theresa May has spoken of putting “prevention at the heart of tackling homelessness” as she has unveiled £20 million of funding to stop people becoming rough sleepers on the streets of London.

Funding for “Homelessness Prevention Trailblazers” in 19 boroughs of the capital were among projects announced by the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

The announcement was made as she and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid visited the Employment Academy, run by the Thames Reach charity in Camberwell, south London.

“What I’m announcing today is the start of an ambitious programme which is actually putting prevention at the heart of tackling homelessness,” she said.

“I think this is important, we want to make sure that people don’t become homeless in the first place.”

As well as the trailblazers, the Prime Minister also unveiled £10 million backing for projects aimed at helping those at “imminent risk” of becoming homeless.

Some £2 million will also be released in the form of social impact bonds, which see investors paid a dividend for successful projects.

The money comes from a national £50 million fund announced in October.

Southwark, where the academy is based, is to be given £393,000 to set up a No First Night Out scheme, based on other pilot schemes run in London.

Mrs May and Mr Javid met and spoke with former homeless people learning painting and decorating at the academy, which helps those in long-term unemployment learn skills and find jobs.

Chief executive Jeremy Swain welcomed the new money and the minister’s interest, saying they were “very engaged”.

He said a “national endeavor to end rough sleeping” was required, adding: “It needs to be led from the very top, by the Government and we need to be very clear, rough sleeping in 2016 is both obscene and absurd, and it shouldn’t be happening.

“Collectively, and I mean across the piece, local authorities, charities, businesses, we all have to work together to end rough sleeping.

“It cannot be that we have citizens on the street, literally under blankets and on cardboard. We need the Government to make this an absolute priority.”

On Tuesday London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a £50 million fund to help the homeless by delivering properties for people needing to move on from hostels and refuges.

The funding is available to housing providers as part of his £3.15 billion Affordable Homes Programme, which was agreed with the Government in the Autumn Statement.

Picture: Prime Minister Theresa May (right) with Maxine Thomas, a support worker at Robertson Street Hostel during her visit to Thames Reach Employment Academy centre, South East London, which helps people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to find employment. (Victoria Jones/PA Images).

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OTHER NEWS

Irish priest makes ‘life a little easier’ at Ghana leprosarium

In the atmosphere of calm at Weija Leprosarium, near Ghana's capital Accra, the caretaker sees an opportunity to educate Ghanaians about Hansen's disease while everyone is learning precautionary measures for the coronavirus threat. Residents at the leprosarium, who...

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