North Devon and Torridge district councils will receive more than £250,000 in Government funding to help rough sleepers.

North Devon Council (NDC) has been awarded £209,150 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of the Government's Rough Sleeping Initiative, while Torridge District Council (TDC) will receive £50,662.

In North Devon, which is identified as one of the 83 authorities with the highest number of rough sleepers, the money will be used to fund two additional units of Housing First accommodation.

It will also fund a full-time accommodation based floating support worker, a drug and alcohol specialist and a community psychiatric nurse.

Torridge's successful bid means it will continue to fund a part-time social worker to work with rough sleepers across northern Devon, a part time outreach worker and short-term accommodation for rough sleepers who are engaging with the services.

NDC's head of environmental health and housing services, Jeremy Mann, said: “North Devon Council is incredibly happy to have received this funding.

“Rough sleepers are some of our most vulnerable clients and this funding will allow us to offer a much wider support package working in partnership with other agencies.

“We will have the ability to fully address a client's issues enabling us to achieve positive outcomes to ending homelessness.”

Steve Hearse, TDC's strategic manager for resources, said the outreach work the council had secured funding for 'significantly improves' the outcomes for rough sleepers across the two districts.

“The outreach work helps to better engage with and identify the needs of people living on the streets, so that we can support engagement with other agencies whilst helping to secure a move from the streets into suitable settled accommodation,” he said.

“Having an enhanced rough sleeper outreach team that includes a social worker who can work across northern Devon enables rough sleepers with complex needs to access adult social care services, and significantly improves outcomes.”

The Government's Rough Sleeping Initiative launched last spring, 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 through Freedom Community Alliance in Barnstaple.

Since launching in October, the service has provided more than 1,500 nights of accommodation to around 100 rough sleepers,

It is thought 25 who have used the service have been housed or reconnected.