GOVERNMENT plans to eradicate rough sleeping within a decade have been announced - just months after it was revealed that the number of homeless people in Bournemouth has risen by 300 per cent.

A total of £100 million will be dedicated to tackling homelessness, officials said yesterday.

Thousands of rough sleepers across the country will be offered rapid specialist assessments and support as part of a package of new measures announced by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire.

Of the promised funding, some £30m will be spent on mental health treatment and support for those with addictions.

Bournemouth Borough Council recorded 48 rough sleepers in the town in 2017 - up from 39 in 2016 and markedly higher than the 12 recorded in 2010.

Poole council recorded 13 last year.

Bournemouth council leader Councillor John Beesley said he is "pleased" the government has recognised the "urgent need to tackle the rise in rough sleeping".

"We recently met with David Lidington, minister for the Cabinet Office, during his visit to Bournemouth last month," he said.

"He was keen to see the great work that is being done by our outreach team and partner organisations in the town to support rough sleepers. We gave feedback on the challenges we face as well as the importance to focus on both prevention and partnership working.

"It is clear that this is a government priority and the minister was keen to emphasise that they will be working with us in order to tackle the issue of rough sleeping long-term.”

Cllr Karen Rampton, Poole council's cabinet member for housing, said: "Our teams work tirelessly to support rough sleepers off the street and into accommodation, as well as helping them to access the necessary support services, but it is a significant challenge.

"Any additional investment and strategic direction in this area will help us to build upon the good work that is already taking place.”

Charity St Mungo’s manages the provision of services for homeless people in the conurbation.

“Rough sleeping is harmful, dangerous and dehumanising and we share the government’s aim that no one should have to sleep rough," chief executive Howard Sinclair said.

“Tragically, for too many people, rough sleeping costs them their life."

In January, homeless Kevin ‘Kev’ Fillsell was found dead at Bournemouth’s Braidley Road car park. Officials at Bournemouth council say they had attempted to engage with the 65-year-old for around a decade before his death.

Kevin’s death put the plight of Bournemouth’s homeless under the national spotlight and sparked debate about how local authorities are dealing with the rough sleeper issue.

Anyone with concerns about a rough sleeper should visit or call 0300 5000 914 to ensure the local outreach teams are aware and can attempt to make contact.