More than £200,000 has been given to Taunton Deane Borough Council with the aim of tackling rough sleeping.

The authority has been given £231.590 by the department of Housing, Communities and Local Government in a bid to aid the growing problem of homelessness in the area.

The council has been the money after making a successful bid for money from the Rough Sleepers Initiative Fund.

It will pay for specialist support to assist rough sleepers into accommodation and through the transition to independent living.

Cllr Jane Warmington, executive councillor for community leadership, said: “There is no easy way to resolve the issue of rough sleeping, however, the steps we are taking as a multi-agency team are starting to make a real difference and this new funding will give us extra resources to help us reduce the levels of rough sleeping. It is a welcome boast to our efforts and recognition that we are committed to addressing this issue in Taunton.”

Taunton Deane Borough Council says it is working with partners including the police, ARC (formerly Taunton Association for the Homeless), The Open Door, Somerset County Council and other support agencies to ensure that appropriate and necessary steps are being taken with every individual rough sleeper prioritising those that are causing anti-social behaviour.

The ‘One Team’ approach is working both proactively and reactively to identify and address the issues of rough sleeping, begging and anti-social behaviour; and develop a joined-up service for rough sleepers to help them break the cycle of homelessness and addiction.

The news has been warmly welcomed by 'delighted' Taunton MP, Rebecca Pow, who said she had been 'working hard' to press government for the money.

Ms Pow, said: "Sadly homelessness is all too common in Taunton and Wellington, and in my view just one rough sleeper is one too many.

"At the start of this year, I was proud to be part of the committee working on the Homelessness Reduction Act, the most ambitious legislative reform in tackling homelessness in decades, which came into force in April. The Act, which nationally has been supported by both Shelter and Crisis, requires councils to provide early support to people at risk of homelessness."

She said she believes the money will have a 'substantial' impact for the Deane.

She added: "This latest tranche of funding is an extra boost to fill the gap between homelessness and rough sleeping. The Homelessness Reduction Act aims to try and help prevent people from becoming homelessness in the first place; but should people find themselves on the streets this new funding should benefit them too. We want to deal with these issues once and for all.

"I am confident that this much needed funding will achieve a substantial result in Taunton Deane, also helping more people to get the help they need at an earlier stage. I have worked hard to press the government for this funding."