GOVERNMENT cash will be used to fund four new posts providing support for rough sleepers and beggars in East Lancashire.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has been successful in leading a Pennine Lancashire bid to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government as part of their Rapid Rehousing Pathway Initiative.

The £139,000 awarded will fund four ‘Navigators’ to work across Pennine Lancashire, two of which will be based in Blackburn, one in Hyndburn and one in Burnley.

Executive member for adult services and prevention, Cllr Mustafa Desai, said: "Demand on services to support the most vulnerable people with complex needs remains significant and continues to increase.

"In all cases the council ensures it meets its statutory obligations to secure accommodation.

"We have a street triage service that engages people on the street or who are sleeping rough.

"Sadly, despite our efforts we still see people choosing to beg on the street and refusing to engage with services that can help them often as a result of mental health needs and or addiction.

"We cannot force people to take the offer of support.

"The council is actively updating its vulnerable person strategy and is also working with the ‘Making Every Adult Matter’ coalition supported by Homeless Link, Clinks and Mind amongst others who are working as a collective voice.

"We are pleased to report that these Navigators will work with rough sleepers and beggars expanding our offer of support for people to move off the street and into secure accommodation.

"The twelve-month project will enhance our ability to link the most vulnerable into appropriate services to address their health, wellbeing, substance issues and lack of suitable accommodation.

"Navigators will also address those who have no connection with the borough and will look to safely relocate them back to an area where they have support."