Minister for Homelessness visits Somewhere Safe to Stay Hubs
On Tuesday 13 August, Luke Hall MP, the Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, visited the Gloucester Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub for a tour of the facility and to find out first hand how rough sleepers and homeless people are supported in the county.
In December 2018, Gloucestershire County Council secured over £950k funding as part of the government’s £100m Rough Sleeping Strategy. Gloucestershire is one of 11 Somewhere Safe to Stay centres across the country, providing a navigator service to work with rough sleepers and alongside the hubs.
During Mr Hall’s visit, he saw the facilities available in Gloucester to those in vulnerable situations and needing immediate support, including the assessment centre service for Homeless people with complex needs.
Mr Hall met some of the staff from the county council’s service provider, P3, and congratulated them on the work they have done so far to change people’s lives. He spoke to some of the recent service users about their experiences, and how the hub was helping them get their lives back on track.
The hubs complement the wider services to rough sleepers and homeless people with complex needs, which includes homeless outreach, assessment centre services and a wider network of supported housing. In July alone the homeless outreach service was able to help 23 rough sleepers come in from the streets; 22 of these were coming into the hub as their first step away from homelessness. In just six months 43 people have been helped to access temporary accommodation; 11 have been positively reconnected to their local communities and families; and 18 have been able to secure long term accommodation with the help of the hubs and their staff.
Minister for Local Government and Homelessness, Luke Hall MP, said: “It was a pleasure to visit Gloucester’s Somewhere Safe to Stay hub today – one of the first such services funded by the government’s landmark Rough Sleeping Strategy, which marks its one-year anniversary today.
“The team has done a fantastic job in putting the funding they’ve received to good use to support people sleeping rough in Gloucestershire off the streets and to move forward with their lives.
“However we know there is more work to do, which is why we will continue to work with local authorities, such as Gloucestershire, as we work towards the goal of ending rough sleeping once and for all.”
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The funding Gloucestershire has received has had a tremendous impact on entrenched rough sleepers in the county. The Somewhere Safe to Stay Hubs allow frontline staff to work with vulnerable people 24/7 whenever they need support, and provide practical help quickly to those who need it. Simply having this facility in our county makes a huge difference to people’s lives, adding to the work we do with many different partners across the county.
“If you spot someone sleeping rough I would encourage you to contact Streetlink online or by using the app. This will be sent immediately to the local street outreach team P3 who will try to find the person as quickly as possible and if necessary bring them into one of the Somewhere Safe to Stay Hubs.”
The county’s homeless hubs, located in central Gloucester and central Cheltenham, are staffed 24 hours a day seven days a week to provide a safe environment away from the street. On arrival to the hub, staff will provide a ‘sit up’ service to rapidly assess a person’s needs and design a personal housing plan to make sure that we encourage them not to stay sleeping rough and assist them to access relevant support to help them stay off the streets. Specialist support for complex needs might include mental health problems and substance misuse.
How can rough sleepers access the hubs?
- The best way people can access the hubs is through a referral to Streetlink app / website (www.streetlink.org.uk)
- Once a rough sleeper is identified, the outreach team will actively find the rough sleeper and bring them to one of the hubs
- A quick referral detailing description, location, and any other information if known, can be made by anyone through this national tool