Cash to ‘protect and vaccinate’ rough sleepers in Mansfield
The Government is to provide Mansfield Council with more than £100,000 to help rough sleepers off the streets and provide them with the Covid-19 vaccine.
New papers show the authority will receive £104,149 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, provided specifically for councils to ‘protect and vaccinate’ the homeless community.
The council’s weekly outreach figures show there are, on average, eight rough sleepers across the district on any night.
However, the authority reports many are seen ‘refusing to engage or take up offers of accommodation’.
And according to council documents, ‘very few’ of the rough sleeping community are vaccinated due to ‘complex needs and hesitancy’.
Council documents show £92,219 of the pot will be used to fund hotels, tenancies and furniture packages to support the town’s rough sleepers off the streets.
The remaining £11,930 will be for vaccination delivery, resources and ‘incentives’ to encourage rough sleepers to take up the Covid jab.
The funding is due to be accepted by Coun Craig Whitby, portfolio holder for corporate and finance, during a delegated decision on January 20.
The report, published ahead of the meeting, states: “The funding… can be used to fund hotels, tenancies and furniture packages to support rough sleepers off of the streets.
“It can also be used to fund extra support workers to engage with rough sleepers to accommodate them and encourage them to be vaccinated.
“In addition, £11,930 has been awarded for vaccination delivery and incentives which could involve a shared roaming vaccination resource, or vouchers to encourage rough sleepers to be vaccinated.
“This funding will support the council and homeless agencies who work closely with rough sleepers, to encourage [them] to get vaccinated and help prevent the spread of Covid-19. ”
It comes after the council approved a separate project to find accommodation, so rough sleepers can self-isolate during the winter months.
It formed part of a countywide project led by homelessness charity Framework, which identified a ‘continuous need’ to support rough sleepers who test positive for Covid.
All Nottinghamshire councils were required to agree to a ‘memorandum of understanding’ on the project, with a four-bedroom property to be made available when commissioned by the county’s public health team.
The accommodation will initially be provided until March 31, with a report confirming the home is not within Mansfield district.