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City group making a difference to rough sleepers

Latest figures show City of Wolverhampton rough sleepers' operational group is making an impact in getting people off the streets - but it recognises more needs to be done.

Since April 2018, 16 long term rough sleepers have been assisted off the streets into accommodation, while more than 20 other people at risk of rough sleeping have had access to support, been given a temporary roof over their heads, and will go on to secure long term accommodation.

The city's Church shelter also continues to operate through the cold weather, with 44 people assisted by it during November.

All this work has been undertaken using a multi agency approach involving partners - City of Wolverhampton Council, Wolverhampton Homes, P3, Recovery Near You, Wolverhampton BID, Church Shelter, SUIT, Good Shepherd, St Georges HUB, Refugee and Migrant Centre, as well as other voluntary groups.

People who are sleeping rough, or are at risk of becoming homeless, often also have complex needs including physical and mental health problems.

Supporting vulnerable clients through public health, NHS, social care and addiction services, alongside housing and employment support, is essential to helping them find a long term and sustainable alternative to sleeping rough.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, said: "The work has been spearheaded by a partnership between public health and housing to address the multiple complex needs of people sleeping rough on the streets and getting them into somewhere settled.

"Like most big towns and cities, Wolverhampton does have an ongoing issue with homelessness, but we are working hard to address this.

"The operational group is in no doubt that more needs to be done to reduce the numbers further as well as address additional issues such as aggressive begging that can take support away from genuine rough sleepers.

"Work will also continue to address the needs of vulnerable clients to help them find a long term and sustainable alternative to sleeping rough."

P3 Service Co-ordinator, Tanya Johnson, said: "Our team goes out early in the morning and in all weathers to respond to reports of people sleeping rough, supporting them to access the services they need to find a route away from homelessness.

"The multi agency approach that we have in Wolverhampton is extremely effective in ensuring that people get the right support at the right time. We will continue to work closely with Wolverhampton Council and all our local partners to find lasting solutions for those we support."

Good Shepherd Operations Manager, Tom Hayden, added: "The Good Shepherd delivers a range of activities in the evenings and throughout the week for rough sleepers.

"Our aim is to break the cycle of homelessness by creating opportunities for rough sleepers to use and develop their strengths and skills, build positive peer networks, improve their health and wellbeing and connect with their communities.

"Being a part of the multi agency approach in Wolverhampton means we can join up the services available to rough sleepers and give them the best opportunity of sustaining accommodation and achieving their full potential."

For details on how to contact support services to help those experiencing rough sleeping, visit Rough sleepers.

People can also help rough sleepers by donating money at one of the many Alternative Giving Campaign collection points around the city, with more information available at The Alternative Giving Campaign Wolverhampton.

  • released: Monday 7 January, 2019