03:21PM, Thursday 24 September 2020
The Royal Borough and Slough Borough Council have received £145,000 and £138,000 worth of Government funding respectively to help vulnerable people housed during the pandemic stay in accommodation.
They are two of 274 councils to benefit from the £91.5million pot of cash, announced by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last Thursday.
Local authorities will share the funding to ensure support for the most vulnerable, including by helping people into the private rented sector, secure interim accommodation such as supported housing, and assess the wider support they need.
Also announced was an additional £13.5million fund to enable councils to tackle ‘new or emerging challenges’.
Elsewhere in the area, Wokingham received £204,503 and Buckinghamshire £485,475.
Reacting to the news, the Royal Borough’s lead member for housing, Cllr Ross McWilliams (Con, Cox Green), said: “The housing team have done a brilliant job over the last few weeks and months through a difficult time to support our vulnerable residents.
“To have secured additional funding is testament to the great work of the team and what that will do is support people who are in temporary accommodation as a result of COVID into long-term accommodation.
“It gives us time to get these people into private rented accommodation or whatever the solution might be. And it is funding an additional COVID officer who will be specifically looking at these things.”
As well as the COVID officer, a ‘PRS access officer’ will also be provided to look at opportunities to get people into accommodation.
Cllr McWilliams added that the council is helping about 250 vulnerable people at the moment, which is a ‘significant increase’.
He said: “There are people who have required support that would not have otherwise needed it.
“So there has been a very large increase in the number of people we have provided support to.
“The money is going to be really helpful in ensuring that people have quicker responses by having additional people in the team.
“The journey we have been on over the last couple of years [is good], if you compare where we were with the Royal Wedding mischief.
“I am proud of what the housing service has done, but I am proud of how all the organisations involved have come together during the pandemic.”
A spokesman for Slough Borough Council said: “The council received news last week a bid for funds was successful to support people who have been assisted into accommodation since the pandemic began earlier in the year.
“The money will be spent on finding them permanent accommodation solutions.”
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