Rough sleepers in North Devon are set to have more support to help them into housing over the next 12 months.

North Devon Council (NDC) has outlined how it will use a further £83,500 of Government funding awarded to its housing team from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The council will fund 20 supported tenancies provided by Freedom Community Alliance for rough sleepers leaving the street, those that are former rough sleepers and those at risk.

A full-time 'Navigator' will also be employed to work with the area's longer-term rough sleepers to support them into settled accommodation.

The Navigator will support individuals in their recovery to find employment, undertake training, develop budgeting skills and form positive social circles to ensure they are better equipped to maintain their accommodation and independence and avoid returning to the street.

The funding comes two months after NDC was awarded £209,150 to provide Housing First accommodation, a support worker, a drug and alcohol specialist and a community psychiatric nurse.

NDC's service lead for housing equality, Natasha Rowland, said: "We are so pleased to have been granted this funding from the government, which will be invaluable in helping our district's rough sleepers over the next 12 months.

"Our aim is to get people off the streets and into settled accommodation, and to give them the support and skills to reintegrate into the community."

Philip Noall, chief executive for Freedom Community Alliance, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with North Devon Council again on the delivery of these important services.

"Both the supported tenancies and the full-time Navigator role will assist in developing a 'Rapid Rehousing Pathway' for rough sleepers in North Devon.

"These services are a fundamental part of the Government's Rough Sleeper Strategy published in August 2018."

The Government's Rough Sleeping Initiative launched last spring off the back of the strategy, providing councils with funding to support rough sleepers off the streets and into secure accommodation.

NDC was awarded £285,000 from the fund, setting up its winter Safe Sleep service in Barnstaple through Freedom Community Alliance.

The service provided more than 1,500 nights of accommodation to around 100 rough sleepers, and it is thought 25 who used the service have been housed or reconnected.