TWO Somerset councils are to share more than £240,000 to combat rough sleeping in their towns.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has handed out more than £46million to local authorities to help address the problems associated with people sleeping on the streets.

The lion’s share of Somerset’s funding will go to Somerset West and Taunton Council, which will use it to continue its existing work with housing providers and its ‘Streetwise’ team.

South Somerset District Council will receive the remainder, which will go towards support work and other similar projects.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire MP said the funding was part of the government’s strategy to “end rough sleeping for good”.

He added: “We are taking the necessary steps to make that happen, already providing 2,600 additional beds and 750 more support staff for the most vulnerable people in our society.

“But we must keep up the momentum, and that’s why we are giving this funding to areas and projects that need it, ensuring progress continues to be made and people are given the help they need to turn their lives around.”

South Somerset District Council will receive £30,844 from the government towards combating rough sleeping through its existing housing team.

The council has said it is “likely” that the funding will go towards “essential drug and counselling support work” for people who are at risk of rough sleeping.

The council voted in October 2018 to set aside an additional £160,000 a year to “provide funding for services to assist single adults who are in need of accommodation and to prevent homelessness.”

The new Somerset West and Taunton Council will receive £210,739 of the overall allocation.

The new funding will allow the work of the ‘Streetwise’ team to continue, including more street warden patrols in Taunton town centre.

It will also enable the continuation of the Diverted Giving scheme which allows people to donate directly to the Open Door charity rather than giving money to beggars. The charity provides meals, showers, laundry services and other support.