AN extra £360,000 will be invested in a project to help provide homeless people in Bradford with shelter and support.

Around 30 rough sleepers will be helped by the extra investment into the Housing First project after the proposal was approved by members of Bradford Council at a meeting this week.

However, some Conservative Councillors had called for a review of how the project spends its funding before it is given any further investment.

The Council's Labour group brought forward the motion to allocate the extra cash to the service.

But at Tuesday's full Council meeting Councillor Geoff Winnard (Cons, Bingley) proposed an amended motion. It pointed out that Housing First did not require those who accessed the service to be clean of drugs and alcohol. And it suggested the Council undergo a "12 month evaluation" of Housing First "so the Council can make an informed decision regarding the effectiveness of the programme."

£3.3 million shelter for the homeless is declared open in Bradford

Councillor Alex Ross Shaw, executive for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said the funding would help provide "intensive support" for rough sleepers, such as help getting substance abuse treatment, as well as finding them a home. There had been a rise in homeless referrals in Bradford every year since 2010, which he described as an "absolute scandal."

Cllr Winnard raised some concerns on the extent of the funding. He said: "It can't be right that in the 21st century we have homeless people on our streets.

"We need to ensure that the programmes to help them are the most effective they can be. This programme is relatively expensive considering the small amount of people it is helping. Questions have to be asked about its sustainability.

"Should there be abstinence before they take their tenancy?"

Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab, Wibsey) said it was not an issue where the Council should be swayed by financial returns, adding: "There but for the grace of God go I. This is about saving lives. This is the Council behaving in a progressive way.

"Behind every story is someone who has suffered a traumatic incident in their lives. Stop and think, one of these events could happen to you."

Cllr Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said: "Last night I saw a man sleeping in a bus shelter just a short distance away from here, so we obviously haven't got this right yet."

Cllr Ross Shaw said questioning how much was being spent on the project showed "naivety" in how much support rough sleepers needed.

He said: "Nobody in this chamber wants to see anyone be homeless. I don't agree that spending just over £10,000 to help a person with complex needs isn't value for money. You are helping people reduce their reliance on A&E and the emergency services. It is creating real savings for the NHS. It will help people stick to criminal orders so it will help relieve pressure on the criminal justice system.

"The scandal is we are having to fund this ourselves. The £260 million the government has made available is less than what they have cut from our annual budget."

The Council then voted to approve the motion and grant the extra cash.