Gloucestershire’s housing partnership reaffirms its commitment to helping people off the streets
Gloucestershire’s strategic housing partnership has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting rough sleepers to get off the streets in the county, and the latest figures released by government suggest its approach is working.
Each autumn the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) takes a snapshot of people sleeping rough across the country, from one night. Figures from the 2020 MHCLG spotlight counts, released today (Thursday, 25 February) estimate that there were 28 people rough sleeping across the county, down from 40 people rough sleeping at the same point in 2019.
Gloucestershire is working in partnership to address the issue of rough sleeping. The county and six district and borough councils, CCG and OPPC have jointly invested in dedicated services to support rough sleepers.
This work is overseen by Gloucestershire’s Strategic Housing Partnership which works closely with partners in the voluntary sector to ensure holistic support is available for those sleeping on the county’s streets and regularly monitors the numbers rough sleeping as well.
Anne Brinkhoff, chair of the partnership, said: “The rough sleeper count is one of the ways we understand the number of people on our streets on one particular night, alongside daily contact with individuals who are rough sleeping from the outreach team and weekly multi-agency analysis.
“Much effort has gone into supporting rough sleepers, and we are pleased to see the effect of this on the numbers - particularly in the face of added challenges presented by Covid-19. In fact, since the count took place, the number of rough sleepers in the county has reduced even further.
“As a partnership we continue to work together to secure long-term outcomes for all rough sleepers in the county.”
There are a range of measures in place to support people who are homeless and rough sleeping in Gloucestershire. The county’s Streetlink service puts rough sleepers in touch with dedicated outreach teams who aim to build relationships, and encourage them to access accommodation away from the streets, focus on addressing the root causes of homelessness and begin their journey into longer term sustained housing.
Countywide ‘Hubs’, also provide drop-in advice and assistance to homeless people to help them access supported accommodation and other services. Community-based support focusses on identifying and helping ‘sofa surfers’ and those deemed at risk of homelessness.
Anyone who sees someone rough sleeping in the county is asked to report the location, time etc. to the local outreach team by calling 0300 500 0914 or via the StreetLink app or website, www.streetlink.org.uk