James Heappey MP welcomes additional half a million pounds to tackle rough sleeping in Somerset

Wells MP James Heappey has welcomed the ‘crucial’ news that Mendip and Sedgemoor District Councils have been allocated a combined total of more than half a million pounds to tackle rough sleeping in the county.

The cash comes from an additional £112million of the Rough Sleeping Initiative, which was first launched two years ago. The Prime Minister has consistently led from the front with his plan to get people off the streets and into safe and secure accommodation. Mendip received £150,000 in the first allocation back in June 2018.

This time around, Mendip have been allocated £264,429.20 and Sedgemoor £249,000 for the coming year.

The initiative is already showing results with the number of vulnerable people sleeping rough in the allocated areas reducing by more than 30 per cent – but Mr Heappey is clear there is still more to do.

He said: “I am delighted this funding has been allocated to the two district councils in my constituency as I know it will be crucial to achieve our collective aim – eradicating rough sleeping.

“I have said before that every case is a tragedy and it is not acceptable for it to continue. I am pleased the Housing Minister has made this such a priority and this additional money is vital. 

“I will continue to work with both councils to ensure we all meet this target of ending rough sleeping by 2024.”

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick added: “No-one should have to face a night on the street and we have a moral duty to support those who need help the most. It is encouraging to see more people getting the support they need, but there is always more to do.

“We are focusing relentlessly on this issue and our efforts have already led to the first nationwide fall in rough sleeping in a decade – and the areas funded by our Rough Sleeping Initiative have seen rough sleeping numbers fall around a third more than they would be without this vital programme. 

“But we need to go further. That is why we are providing this funding so vital work can continue as we set out to end rough sleeping once and for all.”