MORE than £60,000 of extra money has been pledged to help people at risk of homelessness.

Help to prevent single people or childless couples who are at risk of homelessness will rise to £301,500 a year, an increase of £61,500.

Worcestershire councils have awarded the contract to support people at risk of homelessness to Caring for Communities and People.

The new service will also see the number of emergency shelters for rough sleepers across Worcestershire rise from two to five.

The shelters will be based in Worcester, Malvern, Evesham, Kidderminster, and Redditch, enabling people to be given help locally.

The existing two shelters are in Worcester and Redditch - while locations have not yet been agreed for the other three towns.

CCP will open the shelters on any night when the temperature is predicted to fall to zero or below, in line with Worcestershire’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol.

The county-wide service has been commissioned by district councils across Worcestershire, and will be jointly funded and managed them and Worcestershire County Council.

Jonathan Sutton of Worcester Cares, which brings together St Paul’s Hostel and Maggs Day Centre, police, businesses, churches, Worcester BID and Worcester City Council, said: "This is great news. The investment in these services is much needed.

"This grant demonstrates that people recognise the need to work together to tackle the problems posed by homelessness.

Cllr Lynn Denham, vice-chairman of Worcester City Council’s communities committee, said: “Prior to awarding this contract we listened carefully to the views of local people who are or have been homeless, as well as professionals and volunteers who work in the front line to prevent homelessness.

“This county-wide service focuses firmly on early intervention to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. It’s important to emphasise that Worcestershire councils already fund other services which offer intensive support to existing rough sleepers, separate to this contract.”

A new centre for rough sleepers will open in September at the Salvation Army’s base in The Trinity, following a separate award to Worcester of £242,601 from central government’s Somewhere Safe to Stay fund.

It will provide a new year-round night shelter with support workers on-site 24 hours a day working, to give rapid and intensive support to help people off the streets and into accommodation.

Maggs Day Centre also runs an outreach service supported by the city council, which looks for, engages with and supports rough sleepers across Worcestershire.

The new contract with CCP will run from this October to the end of September 2021. It will be governed and managed by a county-wide group of officers.