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26 Jun 2019

New approach makes big impact on rough sleepers count

Latest figures show City of Wolverhampton’s rough sleepers count has been reduced to single figures.

Over the last year, a multi-agency approach has transformed the way rough sleepers are supported in the city.

The number of rough sleepers has fallen by 79 per cent from 33 in April 2018 to 7 in June 2019 at a time when most areas are experiencing increases.

More rough sleepers are now being helped into accommodation via the city’s Pathway Service, commissioned by City of Wolverhampton Council and run by charity P3, with the clear message that nobody needs to sleep outside.

The approach stems from the findings of a two-year city Task Team, established in January 2017, which asked the council’s city housing team to join forces with Public Health to lead the multi-agency operational group.

The ongoing work also involves city organisations Wolverhampton Homes Housing Options, Police, Recovery Near You, Wolverhampton BID, Church Shelter, SUIT, Good Shepherd, St Georges HUB, Refugee and Migrant Centre, Street Pastors and YMCA Black Country Housing, 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, was deemed essential to helping them find a long term and sustainable alternative to sleeping rough.

The success of the partnership and its work to tackle rough sleeping has also been recognised nationally after being named as finalists in two categories – Delivering Better Outcomes and Transforming Lives – at tonight’s (Wednesday) Municipal Journal (MJ) Achievement Awards 2019.

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “Nobody has to sleep outside in our city and nobody has to go hungry.

“Many of those who are homeless have complex needs. Our Public Health partnership approach is tackling the issue, supporting people into accommodation and giving them access to the services they need.

“Our work does not stop here and we would still encourage local people to continue to support us and donate to the Alternative Giving Campaign.”

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.”

For details on how to contact support services to help those experiencing rough sleeping, visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/article/12771/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 www.wolverhamptonchange.co.uk 

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