Government reveals details of £8m 'levelling up' fund to combat homelessness

Charities are being urged to apply for a share of £8m in government ‘levelling up’ funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has launched the Voluntary an Community Frontline Sector Support Grant as part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping.

Charities are “intrinsic” to progress to achieve this, according to the government, which wants to “bring forward the development of a skilled voluntary and community sector, working in partnership with each other and local authorities to deliver a sustained reduction in homelessness and rough sleeping”.

The grant scheme launched this week and is offering grants to increase capacity in the homelessness support sector, help frontline workers solve cases and develop partnerships.

Applications close on 1 April with approval and confirmation of awards announced in the same month. Funding is being provided from July this year to March 2025.

Grants of between £850,000 and £1.2m a year are on offer to boost capacity in the sector. This includes increase the provision of digital and online support as well as training.

Meanwhile, grants of between £750,000 to £950,000 a year are available to help frontline workers resolve issues, in particular complex and urgent support cases.

Partnership working grants of between £450,000 and £600,000 are also available.

Developing the faith and community sectors support for people impacted by homelessness is another strand. Grants of between £175,000 and £225,000 a year are available for those sectors.

“The new VCFS Grant programme is an important step towards creating a joined-up voluntary and community sector, continuing to target the outcomes needed to prevent and end homelessness and rough sleeping,” states application documents released this week.

It adds: “Our recent engagement with the wider sector and local authorities has told us that despite the many challenges of COVID-19, organisations have identified significant improvements to the coordination of rough sleeping services and partnership working during the COVID-19 pandemic, including improved relations with the health sector. We need to ensure this new way of working is sustained.

“Despite these achievements, the profile and challenges of the homeless and rough sleeping population has changed over the pandemic and the sector now faces new complexities and issues to address.

“Now more than ever supporting the skills, capability and networks of the sector is a critical intervention to deliver an end to rough sleeping and homelessness.”

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