THE council's efforts to provide homes for rough sleepers across Wirral have been given a £1.2 million boost from Government.

The Ministry of Housing funding will help ensure that people sleep rough, or who are at risk of sleeping rough, are rehoused in safe, long-term accommodation, providing some of the most vulnerable in society with a permanent place to live and help to rebuild their lives.

In March, the Government directed councils to house rough sleepers in safe accommodation, helping to protect thousands of lives during the pandemic.

By September, more than 29,000 vulnerable people had been supported, with over 10,000 in emergency accommodation and nearly 19,000 provided with settled accommodation or move on support.

Wallasey Conservative councillor Ian Lewis said: "Thanks to the work of housing associations, charities, the council's housing team and support groups, more than 100 rough sleepers in Wirral were found accommodation.

"The cash announced today means that this won't be just a short-term fix.

"It means the progress since March will continue for years to come and the new, safe and supported homes will help some of our most vulnerable residents finally get the homes they need."

Once they have the keys to their new home, rough sleepers will be supported by specialist staff to access the help they need, such as support for mental health or substance misuse needs, so they can rebuild their lives, move towards training and work, and remain off the streets for good.

Kate Henderson, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: "It's positive that this funding has now been allocated to provide long-term homes for rough sleepers.

"These homes, along with support, will be vital in ensuring people who have experienced rough sleeping do not return to the streets."

Today's cash is on top of the £91.5 million allocated to 274 councils in September to fund their individual local plans for rough sleepers over the coming months, and to help provide short-term and interim accommodation for vulnerable people, as well as the £10 million Cold Weather Payment for councils to help to keep rough sleepers safe this winter.

During the first meeting of the council's new housing committee last night, all parties agreed to work on the local plans to support rough sleepers, as well as options to build modern council homes on brownfield sites.