Sheffield rough sleepers will be helped before winter arrives
Sheffield Council has received more than £360,000 from the Government to get an action plan “up and running without delay” to make an impact before next winter.
The grant will fund a small team, additional emergency accommodation spaces in the city and provide 30 places for “moving on” accommodation and resettlement support for the most vulnerable.
A council report says: “The funding will create a small and dynamic team, tasked to work with an identified group of repeat and long term rough sleepers through the provision of emergency spaces, enhanced support and suitable and sustainable longer term housing options.
“There needs to be a different approach and personalised, tailored responses for people who are refusing the options currently available to them.”
To reach new people on the streets, the council will hold outreach sessions in the community.
The report adds: “Early advice can help prevent homelessness and reduce rough sleeping. The outreach officers will also provide the next day assessments for anyone using emergency overnight accommodation, as well as linking in the prisons and hospitals for people due to be released or discharged without any accommodation to return to.
“Their brief will also include individuals known to be engaging in street activity, including begging, who are at risk of losing their accommodation and becoming homeless.”
Compared to most core cities the number of rough sleepers in Sheffield is relatively low. However numbers have in increased both locally and nationally - in November 2017 there were 20 rough sleepers in Sheffield compared to 15 in 2016.
Officers say: “We want to help people off the streets as soon as possible, so no one has to sleep rough. There is an expectation that these interventions will reduce rough sleeper numbers before next winter.
“The council and partners are successful in preventing people from becoming homeless and helping the majority of people off the streets quickly. However, the council decided to bid for the funding to enable a tailored and bespoke approach for those considered ‘vulnerable and entrenched in rough sleeping’.
“Without this funding, this team could not be established and there is a risk of rough sleeper numbers increasing.”
Back in March, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced a rough sleeping initiative to immediately tackle the problem. The Government wants to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027. Sheffield Council submitted a bid and was given £363,309