Council proposes range of measures to help rough sleepers

Date: 
Wednesday, 23 May, 2018
Number: 
18-23

Harlow Council has submitted a proposal to the Government to help get people sleeping rough in the town into housing.

The Council has asked for £250,000 from a targeted £30m fund which aims to reduce the number of people rough sleeping before and throughout the next winter period. Council officers have been working closely with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the co-production of a proposal.

There were 24 rough sleepers in Harlow when the last estimated rough sleeper count took place in November 2017. This figure has continued to increase every year since 2010 when there were 7 rough sleepers in the town.

This year during the severe weather Harlow’s emergency provision was activated three times and supported up to 36 people sleeping rough.

If successful, the money will be used on a range of measures, including:

  • Employing a full-time co-ordinator to oversee services and support for rough sleepers.
  • Funding two extra outreach/tenancy support workers to work for Streets2Homes.  
  • Providing support to help get people off the street and into settled accommodation suited to their needs.  
  • Extending severe weather provision across the winter period (November to February) so a range of different accommodation can be provided to suit individual circumstances.
  • Turning a disused Council property into short-term supported accommodation where up to six rough sleepers can stay and receive targeted support from Streets2homes.

Councillor Mark Wilkinson, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:

“We see rough sleeping everywhere, not just in Harlow, and the increase in figures locally speaks for itself. People want to see more done to help get rough sleepers into housing and into a more settled situation.

“Behind every rough sleeper’s story there are usually many different circumstances and complex situations. We know that rough sleepers need more than just a place to live – that is the first solution for many – but it’s the specialist support and help over the long term which is equally important.

“Sadly, some people choose to sleep rough and reject support; overcoming these barriers is all part of the project. Our bid includes a range of measures working with Streets2homes to provide the support to meet the different needs of different people. I’m hopeful that the Government will confirm its support for our proposal so that together we can do more to help those sleeping rough.”