BOURNEMOUTH will be awarded almost £400,000 to tackle homelessness after the government pledged to eradicate rough sleeping within a decade.

The £387,500 grant for 2018/19 will fund a project manager, four outreach workers, five units of supported housing accommodation and a 'duty to refer' coordinator. It will also provide better access to mental health services for rough sleepers.

Over the course of the winter, the council aims to reduce rough sleeping by 33 per cent. During the last count in October 2017, 48 people were found sleeping on the streets - an increase of 300 per cent in eight years. The current total will likely rise without intervention, council officials believe.

Nationally, £100 million will be dedicated to the issue, it was announced this week.

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.

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns hailed the government's ambition to eliminate rough sleeping in 10 years as a "laudable aim".

"Behind every person who finds themselves on the streets is a tragedy," he said.

"It might be mental health episode, a relationship breakdown or a drug or alcohol addiction. It is a very, very complicated issue."

Any local authority acting alone to tackle homelessness "will fail", Mr Burns said.

"There has to be a partnership between the authority, voluntary organisations, church organisations and charities," he said.

The MP has recently met with a range of representatives tackling rough sleeping in Bournemouth, and hailed their "energy".

However, not all agencies are "fully coordinated and completely joined up", which is "frustrating", he added.

"With local government reorganisation, there could be a real opportunity across the three councils to learn from best practice," he said.

Dorset's police and crime commissioner Martyn Underhill said. ‘’I welcome the introduction of the government's rough sleeping strategy, but in my opinion it doesn’t go far enough.

"The issues that surround rough sleeping and homelessness must also be addressed, the problems of housing availability and access to benefits must also be looked at and addressed as part of the overall problem.

"I have and always will be a champion for the ex-servicemen and women that find themselves homeless or sleeping rough and my determination to provide a ‘wrap-around’ hostel service specifically for veterans continues.

"I have said before that rough sleeping is a persistent and complex issue that requires long-term, joined-up solutions, and the government is starting to make steps in the right direction.

"I am hopeful that the 2027 goal that has been set is achievable and the strategy will make quick progress."