Blackpool gets government cash to help tackle its homeless problem

Blackpool has been given a share of government cash to help the council get rough sleepers off the streets.

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 4:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 4:33 pm
A homeless person in Blackpool
A homeless person in Blackpool

The £155,000 is part of a £46m fund announced by the communities secretary James Brokenshire to help local authorities get people into accommodation.

While neighbours Preston is regarded as one of the UK’s 83 worst areas for rough sleeping and gets a bigger allocation – £246,881 – Blackpool is amongst almost 200 other councils on the second tier 
for funding.

The grant comes a month after it was revealed rough sleeping in the resort has increased 200 per cent since 2010. Across the north west, numbers are up 
328 per cent.

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“These new figures are deeply disturbing and reveal the damage caused by years of austerity to families and communities in Blackpool and across the north west,” said Chris Webb, Lancashire’s deputy crime commissioner and Labour’s candidate for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

The number of people sleeping rough in Blackpool is disputed, with the council’s official figure in 2018 being 12, one less than 2017 and one more than 2016.

But the new campaign group United Blackpool challenged those numbers, claiming the figure was more 
like 40. A report by homless charity Shelter said it was actually as many as 100, with a 79 more in temporary digs.

Antony Lockley, assistant chief executive at the council, said: “This money will be used for a number of purposes includingrecruiting more support workers to work with people who have or are at risk of sleeping rough and help them manage tenancies and maintain their accommodation. It will also be used to open up more emergency accommodation beds working with voluntary sector partners.”