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Third government funding bid secured to help house the homeless

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Dorset Council has successfully secured government funding from the Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP) to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in the area, for the third time in a row. 
The contribution of £1.3 million, will go towards buying and/or renovating accommodation for 10 residents, who are aged between 18 and 25 and have high levels of support needs. 
Last year, the council worked with Homes England, to present a bid to The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). The bid detailed plans to acquire new homes for people who live in challenging environments. 
Around £625,000 will be spent on acquiring one six-bed property and four self-contained flats. The remainder sum of £725,000 will fund support services for occupants over three years. All 10 tenants will have access to specialist support, which will give them the tools they need to successfully move on to independent living.  
Dorset Council will contribute a further 50 per cent towards building the temporary accommodation units, taking the total amount of investment for this project up to £1.6 million. 
The SHAP has already allocated £1.2 million of funding to the local authority to finance expansion of the Bus Shelter Project in Weymouth and a new unit to support homeless women. 
Cllr Jane Somper, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care, Health and Housing, said:  
“We’re delighted we’ve been successful in being awarded funding to help build much-needed accommodation for our young people who live in difficult circumstances. 
“This new scheme will provide an excellent opportunity for young adults to experience independent living in a calm, safe, space.  We want to be able to give our residents the best possible chance in life and help them thrive in their local community.” 
The SHAP bids are part of a council-wide homelessness prevention programme. The aim is to stop people from becoming homeless, by giving them access to fit-for-purpose accommodation with appropriate support services onsite, where possible. 
An annual report by DLUHC, titled the Rough Sleeper Annual Snapshot in England: Autumn 2023, shows there has been a national rise in the number of homeless people. 
The report, which documents how many people are sleeping rough on one night, shows the number of people in the Dorset Council area has risen from 12 in 2022 to 15 in 2023. The figure had been reducing year-on-year since 2019, when 18 people were recorded as sleeping rough.
Nationally, there has been a 28 per cent increase in the number of people recorded as sleeping rough, which is higher than the Dorset Council average.