THE council will be able to offer ‘tailored’ support to rough sleepers after a major government funding boost was announced this week.

North West Hampshire will receive £303,074 of extra government funding to tackle rough sleeping this year, MP Kit Malthouse has confirmed.

This money will be split between Test Valley and Basingstoke and Deane, with the former receiving just over one third of the total funds.

Kit Malthouse MP said: “Nobody should have to sleep outside, we have to work urgently to combat this problem and this extra £300,000 will be a huge help in this part of the country.

“If spent effectively, we can make a real difference by targeting the underlying causes such as mental health issues and drug addiction.

“Our rough sleeping review launches this year and it is an opportunity for us to look at what we can do to act quickly and to save people’s lives.” sleep

Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) will receive £103,224 to support some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Mr Malthouse says he is unable to confirm specifics of how the funding will be used at this stage, but confirmed with the Advertiser that it will be for TVBC “to decide how to spend it” and that “it will be for councils to tailor those schemes”.

This would mean using the funds to “treat the cause” of rough sleeping on an individual basis.

So, if a person were sleeping rough due to alcohol or drug issues, the funds would be used to help treat those issue. If someone were rough sleeping due to a temporary loss of accommodation, the funds could help pay for a roof over their head for the night.

Test Valley will receive a smaller share of the funds due to size of the borough and the demand within it, Mr Malthouse says.

However, he does admit that it remains a big issue in the borough and that has received many letters from constituents about the situation.

“In Andover it’s a big issue that people see. So I’m very pleased we are being given more muscle to be able to deal with it.”

The funding boost is part of a new £112 million pot for councils across England through the government’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, which aims to get people off the streets and in to safe and secure accommodation.

The Rough Sleeping Initiative has cut the number of rough sleepers by a third (32 per cent), in its areas of operation, since its introduction in 2018.

Mr Malthouse says that locally and nationally, the ‘tide has turned’ but there is still work to be done to tackle the issue fully.

“We’ve seen some, albeit modest, reductions in numbers,” he added, “but there’s still a long way to go. It does look as though the tide has turned on rough sleeping.

“In terms of numbers it’s kind of falling off and starting to drop now across the whole country.”

“Whether there’s one person or 100 people sleeping rough, it’s a very big issue for the individual and therefore it should be a very big issue for all of us,” he added.