Goal to eradicate rough sleeping achieved but borough not complacent
Earlier in the year Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council set an ambitious target through its housing and homelessness strategy to eradicate rough sleeping by 2024 and a recent rough sleeper count has revealed this goal has been achieved despite requirements to adjust and rethink support throughout the pandemic.
But the Chair of the Social Inclusion Partnership and the borough council’s Cabinet Member for Homes and Families Cllr Tristan Robinson has warned that this is only the start of the journey and keeping this figure low over the coming years will present new and difficult challenges in the wake of COVID-19.
Cllr Robinson said: “I’m proud to be able to say we currently have no-one sleeping on our streets and this is the result of years of innovation, expertise and commitment from our partners in the social inclusion partnership to work together. It is recognition that in Basingstoke and Deane we are prepared to do things differently to find a solution.
“This is a time to celebrate the tremendous progress that has been made in tackling rough sleeping and the causes of rough sleeping in the borough through support tailored to each individual and not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. I’d like to thank everyone who has played a part in achieving this but collectively we all agree, the hard work starts now to keep this figure at zero or close to it. We will continue working with our partners and local charities to build on our existing successes and find new solutions to meet the needs of our most vulnerable residents and support them in their journey away from the streets.”
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 in October and November. In Basingstoke and Deane the number of people sleeping on the streets has consistently fallen over the past four years from 26 in 2016 to zero in 2020.
This figure was agreed by members of the social inclusion partnership which saw statutory services, commissioned housing providers, voluntary and faith-based groups and those with lived experience brought together five years ago by the council to work to reduce homelessness and the causes of homelessness collectively, with a shared vision.
Despite the need for revised ways of working during the 2020 pandemic to protect clients, staff and volunteers, the partnership has still delivered new approaches to help people off the streets and continue their journey away from the streets.
For more information on the work of the Social Inclusion Partnership to tackle homelessness in the borough visit www.realchangebasingstoke.org.uk or follow @realchangebas on Facebook or Twitter.