Birmingham’s provision to support rough sleepers this winter

Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods, talks about the city’s approach to supporting rough sleepers this winter.

Throughout the first lockdown, Birmingham City Council and its partners worked closely with rough sleepers, having in place an offer to all who were sleeping on our city’s streets for accommodation for all who needed it.

Thanks to the efforts of our dedicated teams, as part of the ‘Everybody In’ scheme, we supported over 140 vulnerable people to get off our city’s streets and into accommodation.

Since then, we’ve continued to take this approach and are committed that this continues right through the winter so that we can prevent and relieve both homelessness and rough sleeping.

To cover the winter period of October 2020 to March 2021, we’ve commissioned an additional 900 bed nights of accommodation. The accommodation we’ve secured factors in:

  • The complex and multiple needs of individuals who are sleeping rough
  • Conditions from cold weather including the Severe Weather Emergency Protocols (SWEP)
  • And, all necessary considerations the pandemic brings with it.

I’m really proud of our city’s approach to Covid and how we’ve joined together and have taken care of some of our most vulnerable citizens.

With this in mind, street outreach will continue through the winter period ensuring that everybody our team and our partners identify as sleeping rough, will be offered accommodation and a personal support plan will be developed.

We have plenty of accommodation for which outreach teams have emergency access.

SIFA also remains open for single homeless over 25’s and there will be city council housing needs officers available to help secure appropriate accommodation.

Finally, bespoke HUBs for homeless people will continue to operate. They include Youth, Domestic Abuse, Offenders and the Housing Options Centre.

Covid-19 has presented a real challenge for all of our teams who are working to help those who are homeless but none more so than those who are helping rough sleepers. Our staff and our partners like Trident Reach, SIFA, Shelter, St Basils, Spring Housing and many more have provided ongoing support through the pandemic and for this, I couldn’t be more grateful.

We’ll continue to work to work together and overcome the challenges to make sure that we have help and support in place or anyone who is sleeping on our streets.

In the meantime, if you are concerned about someone who may be sleeping rough, please use Street Link so that our outreach workers are informed and can take action and provide help.

*This blog was published on 25 November 2020.

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