VULNERABLE people sleeping rough in the region will get specialist help to recover from life on the streets under a series of Government-funded initiatives.

Housing and Homelessness Minister Heather Wheeler MP yesterday announced councils across the North-East would get £1.2m for innovative schemes which aim to get people off the streets and into stable accommodation, with tailored care.

Initiatives will include rough sleeping centres where people on the streets can get immediate shelter and professional help, including mental health support.

Specialist support workers will direct people to the services such as counselling, housing advice, mental health support or substance misuse services.

Supported lettings schemes will help people to secure tenancies in properties they may not otherwise be able to access and specialist agencies will help vulnerable people into affordable and stable accommodation.

The cash comes from the Government’s £100m-backed Rough Sleeping Strategy, which sets out plans to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and ultimately end it for good.

Councils sharing the money include Durham County, Stockton, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Darlington, Redcar and Cleveland, Gateshead, Sunderland and South and North Tyneside.

Stuart Timmiss, Durham County Council’s head of development and housing, said: “We are delighted that the bid we led for Rapid Rehousing Pathway funding has been successful.

“The funding will allow us and other councils in the North East to invest more than £600,000 in ensuring those sleeping rough across the region have immediate access to somewhere safe to stay while they wait for a home and support once they are in accommodation.

“In County Durham almost a quarter of a million pounds will also be spent helping homeless people secure housing through the establishment of a letting agency.”

Mrs Wheeler said: “We are taking steps to ensure people the North East never have to face even one night on the streets.

“These are vulnerable people, who may be dealing with complex mental health problems or addictions and require specialist support to tackle these issues and turn their lives around.

“The funding confirmed today will ensure those sleeping on the streets the North East have access to the professional help and guidance they need to get back on their feet – taking us one step closer to ending rough sleeping for good.”

Around £1.9m was allocated to authorities in Yorkshire and Humber, including City of York Council, providing at least two new rough sleeping centres.

Nationally, councils will use the cash to provide an estimated 2,600 extra beds and 750 support staff for homeless people.