£1.5m is to be dished out in fight against homelessness

£1.5m is being issued to district councils to tackle homelessness in Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt

£1.5m is being issued to district councils to tackle homelessness in Norfolk. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

The problem of homelessness across North Norfolk and Broadland is to be tackled with £300,000 over the next three years.

The cash is part of a wider £1.5m fund from Norfolk County Council (NCC) designed to cut the number of rough sleepers, which has shot up dramatically in the past few years.

For the next three years from April 1 this year, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) will get £55,824 and Broadland is to receive £46,037.

An NCC spokesman said: 'We have made funding available to all Norfolk district councils as a contribution towards them meeting their homelessness duties.

'In total, £1.5 million of county council funding will be available over three years to support district councils to reduce the problem of homelessness and rough sleeping.

'The amount allocated to each district is based on a number of risk factors which include age, gender, marital status, unemployment and the annual rough sleeper estimates for each area.'

The overall number of rough sleepers in Norfolk and Waveney has increased by 100pc in the past five years.

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North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), which has seen the number of rough sleepers in its area vary between one and five since 2013, said it would use the money to pay for a new part-time housing options support worker to help the homeless secure loans to help them get into private rented accommodation.

Richard Price, NNDC's cabinet member for housing, said: 'This funding is welcomed and will allow a specialist officer to support customers with a history of complex housing needs and to work with customers at risk of losing their accommodation through tenancy breakdown.

'It will also allow that officer to work with customers who are defined as street homeless and support them in obtaining, securing and sustaining housing.'

Mr Price said at full council meeting on February 21: 'It is estimated that the cost of rough sleepers to the country is something like £26,000 a year. If we can stop this it will be not only cost-effective but humanitarian.'

And at the meeting Sarah Butikofer, Lib Dem group leader, also welcomed the new funds.