A MULTI million-pound pilot programme where rough sleepers experiencing violence and abuse will be given safe housing is to start in October.

East Sussex is among the twelve areas in England that will benefit from the £3.7 million, 12-month initiative, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said.

The scheme, first announced in this year’s Budget, will offer safe housing to victims of domestic abuse, rape or sexual assault, sex workers, and victims of exploitation or violence who are sleeping rough or at risk of doing so.

It will create 140 bedspaces for an estimated 1,100 people over the trial period.

And victims will be offered advice and support to access suitable more permanent safe accommodation.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes said: “Survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence or physical violence need a safe place of refuge to escape these crimes and rebuild their lives.

“These respite rooms will provide a safe space and ensure vulnerable people at risk of sleeping rough are supported in safe housing with expert advice and counselling.

“This programme is part of the Government’s much wider action to help the most vulnerable in our communities, with £750 million investment this year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.”

The 12 areas that will receive funding are Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole; Birmingham; Bristol; Camden; Hastings and East Sussex; Exeter; Leicester; Liverpool; Manchester; Nottingham; Portsmouth; and Westminster.