Today (10 October) is World Homeless Day and Milton Keynes City Council is highlighting the work it is doing to tackle homelessness and end rough sleeping in MK.
People become homeless for different and often very complex reasons. It may be related to relationship breakdowns, family eviction, addiction, or the loss of private rented accommodation. The city council’s dedicated support team provides a vital service for people sleeping rough and those at risk of homelessness.
Working with the MK Homeless Partnership, the city council has rolled out multiple initiatives in recent years to support rough sleepers and help them secure a life off the streets for good. As a result, the number of people sleeping rough in the city has dropped significantly, leaving a few entrenched rough sleepers who are visited daily and offered support by an outreach team.
The city council opened a shelter for rough sleepers in April 2022 which has helped more than 400 people. At the Old Bus Station in the city centre, the shelter can provide overnight accommodation and support services for up to 19 people at a time who would otherwise be sleeping rough. Council colleagues and partners onsite to provide essential support, and the space also includes shower and kitchen facilities.
Some other initiatives introduced by the city council include:
Debt support – a dedicated team supporting people who are struggling to pay rent to their private landlords. Renters are advised to get in touch early to avoid eviction. Details can be found on the city council’s website
Rent guarantee and cash incentive for private landlords - landlords can receive up to £6,680 as a cash incentive and rent guarantees for offering longer tenancies to families who have made been made homeless often simply because their landlord wished to sell the home they were renting
MK Homeowner Mortgage Interest Relief Fund – in response to rising mortgage rates, the city council has launched a relief scheme to help homeowners at risk of having their properties repossessed. The fund provides a one-off allowance to give struggling families more time to secure long term finance to prevent defaulting their mortgage.
“No one in our city needs to be on the streets – there’s help available and our outreach is out every day encouraging people to take up offers of accommodation. The shelter in the city centre has given us even more resources to help prevent people having to spend a night on the streets. “I’m really encouraged by the work we’re doing to end rough sleeping and prevent people becoming homeless in the first instance. We’ll keep working hard with our colleagues in the Homeless Partnership to support the most vulnerable people in our communities, giving them a fair chance to live healthy and happy lives.” - Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, Cllr Emily Darlington
Milton Keynes City Council works with the national organisation Streetlink. If you suspect someone is sleeping rough you can let the city council know via Streetlink so support can be offered.