Rough sleeper number drops thanks to partnership effort
The latest rough sleeper estimate has seen figures drop by 37% from eight to five, but Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Families and Chair of the Social Inclusion Partnership Cllr Tristan Robinson has warned five people sleeping on the streets in the borough is “still too many”. He is calling on the borough to continue this effort with the aim of eradicating rough sleeping by 2024.
Each year, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government asks every local authority to submit the number of people sleeping rough in their area. Since 2016, when the borough recorded a figure of 26, this has continuously dropped year on year and now stands at just five, with all those counted being local to the borough.
This figure was agreed by members of the Basingstoke and Deane Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP) which saw statutory services, commissioned housing providers, voluntary and faith-based groups and those with lived experience brought together four years ago by the council to work to reduce homelessness and the causes of homelessness collectively, with a shared vision.
Achievements over the past four years have included:
• Locally commissioned wrap-around support from partners to help clients to move away from the streets.
• A new winter night shelter providing essential shelter and help for the most vulnerable during the winter months for the past four years.
• Support and hospitality provided three days a week by the Camrose Centre for those people rough sleeping and vulnerably housed.
• Input from experts by experience with ‘lived’ understanding of homelessness.
• Raised community awareness and engagement in relation to homelessness, mental health and rough sleeping, including how you can help through the Real Change campaign.
• The creation and delivery of the local Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) partnership coalition which has secured national endorsement and recognition together with whole system redesigns and changes.
• Progressing pioneering approaches to redesigning homelessness support and prevention services through working with Southampton University’s department of clinical psychology and Outcome Home.
• Clinical psychologists working in hostels with staff and clients to prevent repeat homelessness and build resilience.
• Two new navigator roles created in April with Government funding. These people are working with people to engage with services and provide consistent and creative support options.
Cllr Robinson said: “The significant reduction in rough sleeper figures over the last three years can be attributed to the hard work and positive partnerships built up across the borough through the Social Inclusion Partnership. This commitment to work together has enabled us to ensure a wrap-around approach supporting people to move away from the streets, but also focusing on preventing rough sleeping in the first place.
“In Basingstoke and Deane there is a real drive to work together to tackle rough sleeping and the latest figure shows this approach is working, but we all agree that five people sleeping on the streets is still too many. We will continue the excellent work that has taken place through innovative approaches, sharing expertise and knowledge to support our most vulnerable residents and utilising the tremendous energy and enthusiasm from community groups, local homelessness charities and volunteers. I would like to thank everyone for their contribution so far, this effort is vital if we are to reduce this figure further.”
The rough sleeper estimate figure comes at the same time as Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council is looking for feedback on its draft Housing and Homelessness Strategy 2020 to 2024. The strategy focuses on five priorities including eradicating rough sleeping in the borough by 2024. To give your feedback on the proposed strategy visit www.basingstoke.gov.uk/housing-strategy-consultation
For more information on how you can support the Social Inclusion Partnership to tackle homelessness visit www.realchangebasingstoke.org.uk or follow @realchangebas on Facebook or Twitter.