Sheffield City Council has made an ambitious target to end rough sleeping by 2027 and half the amount of people sleeping on the streets in the next three years.
A new rough sleeping team was launched in August last year, with £30 million funding from the government.
The team of officers offer rapid assessment of people who are at threat of, or already, sleeping on the streets, emergency accommodation, financial and health support and help with moving to a permanent residence.
So far they have prevented 133 cases of rough sleeping and relieved 121 homeless people from the streets.
Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “The mark of a civilised society is how it treats it’s homeless. I’m really proud of Sheffield at the moment, I think we have a great range of services that supports people coming off the streets.”
He also mentioned police officer Steve Hartland a ‘big and friendly’ cop who walks around of the centre every morning gently waking people sleeping in door ways and asking them to move on, as well as giving advice and support.
Rosie Sheldon, of housing solutions, gave a presentation on the rough sleeper team’s performance so far at a recent safety scrutiny committee meeting.
The team are also currently developing a safe space project for people to stay overnight which will pilot near the end of March.
Tim Renshaw, of the Archer Project which helps homeless people, commended the work but said the target of ending rough sleeping in eight years was ‘unrealistic’.
Councillor Ben Curran, chair of the committee, also questioned if would be achievable in the current context of “a housing policy that offers very few rights, a welfare system that’s pushing people into poverty and a justice system that doesn’t offer any solution.”
Coun Steinke said: “I think it’s a very ambitious target and it’s important that we review it annually. It is a tall order to completely eradicate rough sleeping, there will always be people who choose to rough sleep, but there is a large proportion of people on the streets who don’t need to be. We do need ambitious targets.”