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Coventry’s rough sleeper support has received an additional funding boost following a generous £12k donation from a West Midlands boss.
Richard Harpin, founder and CEO of home repairs and improvements business HomeServe has donated a total £60K package of aid, which is being shared equally between five Midlands authorities including Coventry, and is being put to use safeguarding the region’s rough sleepers amidst the COVID-19 crisis and beyond via his personal charity and enterprise think tank, The Enterprise Trust.
Richard Harpin said: “Even in more normal times, local authorities are stretched beyond their means and the Coronavirus pandemic, which has inflicted an unprecedented strain on resources, will undoubtedly lead to vulnerable members of society being put at even greater risk.
“Donations are critical to not only offer emergency support now, but influence long-lasting changes so that people can be helped to access permanent housing and support, creating better life opportunities for themselves into the future.”
Cllr Tariq Khan, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “This funding will help us to continue to make a difference in the lives of the street homeless living in Coventry.
“Since the outbreak of Covid-19 our teams have been working hard to make sure that every single rough sleeper in the city has access to safe, secure accommodation and any other help they might need – whether that’s help with a CV, health and wellbeing plans or assistance to set up a home.
“Donations such as this help our team to work with people, whatever their needs are, and ensure that individuals can get the support they need.”
The scheme was launched in the city at the end of February. It acts as a safe and secure way for members of the public and businesses to donate and support existing organisations to help to support rough sleepers including young people to not only find accommodation and housing, but also employment, skills, mental health support and drug and alcohol rehabilitation via partners.
It is supported by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street.
The Mayor said: “Coronavirus is having a life-changing impact on businesses and individuals across the West Midlands, but we are particularly concerned about those sleeping rough who are in real danger because of this virus.
“Local authorities are already doing brilliant work to protect rough sleepers, but it is clear they need more help. Change into Action is a scheme that directs support and funding into specialist homelessness charities and street teams, and this incredibly generous donation by Richard will go directly towards improving the lives of the most vulnerable across the West Midlands.
“I want to say a huge thank you to Richard for his donation, as well as everyone else across the West Midlands who has gone above and beyond to support society’s most vulnerable during this incredibly challenging time.”
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in the UK, over 90 rough sleepers in Coventry have been moved into temporary accommodation.
An additional six Outreach Support Worker posts have also been added after government funding was secured until April 2021.
Businesses and other organisations who wish to support Change into Action in Coventry – especially during this difficult time can donate by visiting their website.