More than £1m could help to combat homelessness in Norwich

More than £1m could be allocated to tackling homelessness in Norwich. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wir

More than £1m could be allocated to tackling homelessness in Norwich. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire - Credit: PA

More than £1m could be allocated to combatting homelessness in Norwich at a meeting of the city council's cabinet this week.

Bedding stashed by homeless people sleeping rough outside the Advice Arcade in Norwich, opposite Cal

Bedding stashed by homeless people sleeping rough outside the Advice Arcade in Norwich, opposite Caley's Tea Rooms. Photo: Bill Smith Copy: Emma Knights For: EN Archant © 2005 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2005

Council officers have recommended the cabinet approve two separate awards to tackle the issue amounting to a combined £1,061,808, spread across the next three years.

The majority of this - equating to more than £900,000 - would fund a consortium of organisations led by St Martins Housing Trust, which would work together to provide support for vulnerable people across the city.

A second award of £160,000 would then focus specifically on supporting families left without a home, funding which would go to provider Petit Port.

In the past six months, the council has been required to provide temporary accommodation to 27 families, with applications from 12 currently being assessed.

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A Norwich City Council spokesman said: 'We have a statutory duty under the Housing Act to provide interim accommodation to all clients with a potential priority need to those that have made a homeless application to the council while their applications are assessed under this legislation.

'If a family presents as homeless, we have a duty to find them temporary self-contained accommodation.'

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The spokesman said the biggest challenge the council faces is availability of this accommodation when it is required.

They added: 'No provider holds rooms open, so there's never a guaranteed number of rooms available, as this [demand] changes every day.

'At present, there are 12 families in temporary accommodation while we assess their homeless applications - the outcome of which will determine if we rehouse them permanently.'

Petit Port is one of a number of previous providers which has worked with the council in providing temporary accommodation for families, which has secured a place on the new contract - should it be approved.

The report cabinet members will run the rule over states Petit Port was the only qualifying bid for the funding, stating another bid did not meet its minimum criteria.

Meanwhile, the award proposed for the St Martins led consortium would include an unconfirmed amount to go towards refurbishing the Salvation Army's day centre on Pottergate.

New consortium

The new consortium will consist of eight different organisations, which each do work to support those with complex needs.

These are St Martins Housing Trust, YMCA Norfolk, Salvation Army, NHS City Reach Health Service, Mancroft Advice Project, The Feed, Shelter and Future Projects.

It will be headed up by St Martins, which has worked with the city council for the past three years to provide outreach services in the city. This service has involved engaging directly with rough sleepers to inform them of the help available to them.

A St Martins spokesman for said: 'The new consortium will mean a more strategic and collaborative way of working.

'All the organisations involved are well-established and already work to improve the lives of those affected by homelessness.

'The key is co-ordination of referrals and resources so people supported receive the best possible care and can build foundations for a more independent life.'

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