A HUGE grant has been given to Winchester City Council to boost its efforts to reduce rough sleeping in the district.

The authority was awarded £75,000 of the national £112 million Rough Sleeping Initiative fund for the coming year.

The money has been welcomed by the council’s cabinet member for housing and asset management Kelsie Learney in the wake of the authority’s ambitious goal to end rough sleeping in the district by 2023.

Cllr Learney said: “I’m delighted the city council have received £75,000 of additional government funding which will allow us to expand the good work we are already doing with our partners to reduce rough sleeping in the Winchester district.”

The council said it would use the money to build on its existing programmes to offer support for those living on the district’s streets.

These include additional funding for “complex needs navigators”, and Cllr Learney added: “They will engage with those who are entrenched in their rough sleeping, helping them access health systems and counselling with the end goal of securing accommodation and preventing repeat homelessness.”

A further £28,000 will be used by the council’s outreach service to help people access appropriate housing.

This could be used to purchase items which are currently stopping individuals from being able to achieve their goals; a passport to gain employment, a deposit to secure accommodation for example.

“This will support the city council aim of ‘no second night out’, avoiding a temporary problem becoming a lifestyle,” Cllr Learney said.

Last year the council made a commitment to end rough sleeping, which focused on improved communication between support groups, getting early intervention in place, and ensuring there is adequate housing in the district.

It specifically set out four priorities: provide early intervention and support to prevent homelessness; promoting systems change through partnership arrangements; ensuring sufficient supply of accommodation; provide the right support and services so that no person needs to sleep rough in Winchester.

Across Hampshire, Southampton City Council is the one set to receive the highest amount of money with £915,120.

It is followed by councils in the New Forest (£221,600), Basingstoke and Deane (£199,850), Fareham and Gosport (£141,450) and Test Valley (£103,224).

The news was announced on Tuesday and Homelessness Minister Luke Hall said: “There are people all over the country working tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. Our Rough Sleeping Initiative is proving to be successful, and this funding will mean this vital work can be continued as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.”

It comes as the government has committed to end rough sleeping by the end of this Parliament.