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Birmingham City Council responds to the National Rough Sleeper statistics report released by the DLUHC

Published: Thursday, 24th February 2022

Responding to the release today (24 February) of the National Rough Sleeper statistics report by the Department of Levelling Up, Homes and Communities

Julie Griffin, Managing Director of Housing for Birmingham City Council, said ‘We have been encouraged by progress in recent years that has seen a marked reduction in the number of people sleeping rough in the city. The 2021 count unfortunately saw a small increase in the number of people found to be rough sleeping in Birmingham, but this shouldn’t be taken out of context. On a single night in 2018, 91 people were found bedded down, in 2019, 52 and in 2020, 17. The increase in the 2021 count from 17 to 31 is disappointing but reflects the exceptional circumstances of lockdowns in 2020 which had been lifted in 2021 making the environment more challenging, we do therefore still believe the overall trend is downwards. It should also be noted that for Birmingham as the largest Local Authority in the country, while the figure for rough sleeping may appear comparatively high, when considered as a proportion of the city’s population, the rate of rough sleeping is markedly lower than many other areas’

Ms Griffin added ‘Birmingham City Council is working with partners towards a future where no one is sleeping rough on the streets of this city. However, rough sleepers have been impacted by the pandemic, the national housing crisis and now the cost of living crisis. Throughout 2021 despite the pandemic we maintained all our support and outreach services. There are outreach workers commissioned by the City Council, working on the streets to help people sleeping rough, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and night. This includes an accommodation offer for all and the support of substance misuse workers, health workers, and youth workers. We are now in the process of applying to the government’s Rough Sleepers Initiative Fund to continue this good work from 2022-25 and hope they will support us in doing this.

Anyone at risk should seek support to prevent them becoming homelessness. Birmingham City Council provides a number of routes for this which can be found on our website at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/homeless This includes our partnerships with organisations such as Trident Reach, Sifa-Fireside, Birmingham & Solihull Women’s Aid, St Basil’s and Spring Housing. Anyone concerned about someone who may be sleeping rough should notify the team through https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ - the outreach team follow up on every notification. When temperatures hit freezing we also activate the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) and redouble our efforts to encourage anyone remaining on the streets to come into accommodation.’

Notes to editors

  1. Julie Griffin, Managing Director for City Housing, is a strategic, proactive and highly influential housing expert with 30 years’ experience working in the public sector. Joining Birmingham City Council in 2016, Julie has been responsible for delivery of transformative projects in an ever expanding service. In May 2021, Julie was successfully recruited in to the role of Managing Director of City Housing; becoming responsible for over 60,000 units of Council stock, an £85 million capital investment programme, repairs and maintenance contract, as well as rough sleeping, homelessness and allocations. Throughout Julie’s time at Birmingham City Council, she has been nationally recognised by the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for her work to reduce rough sleeping during the pandemic and is leading a Housing Transformation programme driving improvement across the directorate.
  2. Prior to joining Birmingham City Council, Julie spent 6 years at Stoke on Trent as the Strategic Manager for Landlord Services, responsible for the effective delivery of housing management services, tenant engagement, sheltered and supported housing and the overall delivery of the housing solutions service which also included homeless functions. After solidifying years of housing experience, Julie moved in to the role of Assistant Director of Co-operative working, undertaking a transformational programme responsible for bringing together 20 service areas under one management arrangement. This was an early intervention and prevention initiative responsible for bringing together a new delivery model to support some of the most vulnerable people in society. Julie’s key skill is transformation and change, she has proven expertise in leading substantial, cutting edge, transformational change programmes that received national recognition by the Department of Levelling Up for Housing and Communities and an award of a £5million grant.
  3. Many people want to help a person who is homelessness. A great way to do that is through supporting https://changeintoaction.org.uk/choose-your-region/ which we believe is a better way to financially help someone who is sleeping rough rather than giving money directly to someone begging on the street. All funds given go directly to help homeless individuals supported by our partner agencies.
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