Extra funding to support people who are sleeping rough and begging in Leeds has been by me and Cllr. Caroline Anderson.

The government has allocated an additional £1,636,640.71 to the city for 2017/18 and £1,794,862.92 for 2018/19, from the Flexible Homeless Support Grant, and the council has already agreed to award a number of contracts using the funds, to provide targeted support for people who are sleeping rough or begging.

Like many cities, Leeds has seen an increase in the number of people sleeping rough, so I’m pleased that the government has provided this funding for the city, part of millions of pounds in grants for local authorities across the country.

The latest contracts that have been awarded in Leeds will allow additional outreach workers to provide offers of support and advice to people who are sleeping rough and begging, hopefully addressing some of the problems that have led to people becoming homeless in the first place.

There is also going to be extra support to place people into sustainable tenancies within the city and I welcome the funding being targeted at that need.

Being homeless and having to sleep rough or beg is a terrible situation for anyone and the unfortunate increase in the amount of begging, particularly in the city centre, clearly has an impact on those living in, working in and visiting Leeds. It is important that the council uses this government funding to provide targeted help to rough sleepers and seeks to remove the barriers that often prevent people from accessing vital services, for whatever reason.

In addition I also want to see the council continue to take action when necessary to deal with persistent beggars who can be intimidating to passers-by.