Those tackling the homelessness crisis have received a welcome boost thanks to government funding allocation changes.

St Albans City and District Council has been awarded more than half a million pounds to fund extra services aimed at reducing homelessness in the region.

It comes after changes to the way the government dishes out its funding for homelessness prevention services, with the council set to receive the money over the next two years.

Cllr Brian Ellis, responsible for housing and inclusion at St Albans City and District Council, said: “The housing team is currently looking at how best to use this new government funding to help prevent homelessness.

“Demand for council housing is high and there is limited availability, so we are referring some people who are seeking housing assistance to the private rented sector.

“To make it easier for people to find privately rented homes, we are encouraging landlords to make their properties available through a new scheme.

“We are also providing funding to the Credit Union so people can access affordable loans for deposits and their first month’s rent.”

These proposals are part of the wider plans to tackle the crisis, which include an outreach programme targeting street drinking and the funding of additional beds as part of the severe weather emergency provision.

And as well as funding the Credit Union to help people with housing costs and rent, it aims to provide funding towards the provision of additional temporary accommodation.

The council also intends to hire two new housing officers to set up and run the Private Access Scheme.

This programme will initially run for a year and a half before its performance is assessed and decisions are made about taking it forward.