Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & the Weald, pledged to throw her weight behind plans to secure more funding to address homelessness in Maidstone on a visit to the town’s ground-breaking Rough Sleeper Initiative last week.
Maidstone Borough Council’s excellent team at Marsham Street are using the £703,124 granted by the Government to address rough sleeping in the Town. 133 individuals have engaged with the service since its inauguration in September 2018 and the number of rough sleepers has decreased from 48 at the start to 5 of as July 2019. The MP has therefore been in touch with Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to ask him to provide the funding needed to allow the services to continue into 2020 and beyond.
Helen also used the opportunity of the visit to follow up on her correspondence to MBC about the small number of rough sleepers near the River Medway . Helen was reassured that MBC are focussing on supporting the rough sleepers into accommodation and tidying and clearing the area affected.
John Littlemore, Head of Housing and Community Services at Maidstone Borough Council, said of the service: “Maidstone Borough Council has the desire and innovative workforce to bring about positive change for a marginalised section of our community. The Rough Sleeper Initiative funding has enabled MBC to demonstrate what we can achieve when we have the backing of government and working in conjunction with a cross section of partners. The rapid and impressive improvements delivered by the project has truly benefitted those individuals who had become entrenched rough sleepers and made visiting Maidstone Town Centre a better experience for everyone. “
Commenting after the visit, Helen said: “It was inspiring to meet Hannah, Allan, Sara and Alan and hear of the great and important work that they do for our local community. I have already written to the Secretary of State to follow up on our discussions and to ask him to ensure that funding after March 2020 can be secured to keep this team together and supported. I look forward to working more alongside this inspiring team in the future.”