Cash boost will help city's homeless
A project aiming to help homeless people by providing emergency accommodation and support has been given a £199,849 boost.
It is estimated that on any given night, about 11 people are sleeping rough in Leicester.
City charity Action Homeless is leading the Homeless Leicester Partnership project, which includes initiatives by charities, church groups and health services.
It is one of 22 projects getting a slice of £3.6 million from the Government's Homeless Transition Fund – part of the Government's homelessness strategy.
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The money will pay for emergency accommodation; a new "floating support service" helping entrenched rough sleepers find and maintain tenancies, and specialist support for homeless European migrant workers.
It will also fund training for volunteers and care staff's knowledge of substance abuse and mental health, while a new well-being programme will encouraging former rough sleepers into volunteering, training and employment.
Karen Purewall, director of services at the charity, said: "In this day and age no-one should have to sleep rough on our streets and the Homeless Transition Fund Grant will help us significantly towards our goal of ending rough sleeping in the city."
Until last October, Alan Hurst was sleeping rough. He is now at a city hostel having been referred by Action Homeless.
The 57-year-old recovering alcoholic had been living on the streets for about two years, on and off, after a long-term relationship broke down.
He said: "Homelessness can happen to anyone. My difficulties started in 1997 when I had a nasty accident falling from a ladder where I smashed my ankles.
"I had to have several operations and it meant giving up my job as a painter and decorator.
"I developing a drinking problem which contributed to the 10-year relationship with my partner ending."
He started off sleeping on friends' settees but for fear of being a burden, he began sleeping rough in Victoria Park.
"It wasn't so bad in the summer with a sleeping bag but when the winter came, like it is now, it was very hard.
"Many times I thought about ending it all. I couldn't see the point of carrying on."
Alan said he has now been sober for several months.
"What the people at Action Homeless have done for me is incredible," he said. "With their support I feel positive for the first time I can remember."
Anyone concerned about someone sleeping rough can call 0300 500 0914 or visit: