More than £1 million to fight homelessness in Dorset

MORE than £1 million in funding has been secured to help end homelessness in Dorset.

The funds have been allocated to Dorset Council by the government to help some of the most vulnerable people in the area avoid becoming homeless or living on the streets.

The council put forward two applications for grant funding from the Single Homeless Accommodation Programme (SHAP) earlier this year, to support the expansion of the Bus Shelter Project in Weymouth and the creation of a brand new Complex Women’s unit.

The first grant, of more than £281,000, will help build five self-contained modular homes – also known as ‘pods’ – for people who are ready to live independently at the Bus Shelter, situated on the council’s old park and ride site in Weymouth.

The Bus Shelter provides people with somewhere safe to sleep, where they have their own front door and access to a communal living and kitchen area.

Since the charity, the Bus Shelter Project, opened in 2021, it has helped 47 individuals find a safe shelter from the streets.

The second grant, of more than £781,000, will go towards providing much-needed accommodation and services to women who have complex lives and need to be housed in a female-only environment.

It comes after research carried out by the council has identified women are sleeping rough in the county who have complex needs.

Some of the women were reportedly putting themselves at risk and avoiding sleeping on the streets by sofa surfing in dangerous environments or tolerating abusive relationships.

Cllr Jane Somper, portfolio holder for people – adult social care, health and housing, said: “We are delighted we have been awarded two grants to support our work to end homelessness in our area.

“This funding will make a huge difference to people in our communities who find themselves in hardship and without a safe space to call home.

“The extra pods in Weymouth will be the stepping stone many people need to move closer to living independently.

“We are excited to be able to start the journey of providing female-only accommodation for women who have not been on our radar before now. Watch this space.”

The council’s cabinet lead for housing and homelessness, Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, added: “We have seen the number of people we have helped avoid homelessness rise by 43 per cent since last year.

“We’re still working hard to improve this figure, through outreach work and bolstering support services as well as finding sites for more accommodation.

“The council are contributing around £539,000 to purchase accommodation for the Bus Shelter and the Women’s Unit, taking the total investment in the schemes to over £1.6 million.”

Anyone concerned about a loved one who is homeless, or is facing homelessness, should email, or call 01305 221000.

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