Birmingham set to receive almost £600k in support for rough sleepers
Following Birmingham’s success over the last year in supporting those rough sleeping across the city, the local authority has been granted an additional £595, 600 to continue its successful approach.
The money, which comes as part of the Next Steps Accommodation Programme, will be used to employ additional staff to support single homeless people find permanent housing and help them with this transition. Funding will also be provided to improve facilities and services at Washington Court, an emergency shelter and one of the council’s most important commissioned service for rough sleeping, run by Trident Reach.
Earlier this year, the government launched their ‘Everybody In’ scheme that asked councils across the country to ensure that rough sleepers had a safe space indoors to protect them from the impact of COVID-19. Birmingham City Council acted quickly, offering accommodation to everyone who was on the city’s streets and in need of housing. This was accepted by more than 140 people, including both rough sleepers and those with no access to public funds due to their migration status.
Since that time, of the 73 rough sleepers helped, more than 50 have moved into more permanent accommodation (be that a council flat, housing association accommodation or housing in the private rented sector), 10 are in temporary accommodation and are looking for permanent housing and 10 people have moved in with friends and family.
However, the local authority is keen to warn that rough sleeping is a constantly changing picture with challenging circumstances causing new people to fall into homelessness every day.
Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council said, “While we are grateful for any funding that we receive, our city is the largest local authority in the UK yet, has received the least amount of money of any core city.
“It presents us with a significant challenge. The number of people rough sleeping is never a static figure with the picture changing every day. In the last 12 months, Birmingham has worked extremely hard and has reduced rough sleeping more than any other core city in the country. While this funding will help us in the short-term, we need significant and long-term investment in homelessness prevention to see a wide-scale and sustainable reduction in homelessness.”
The approximate £600k from Government will work alongside the £3.2m Birmingham City Council has already pledged to support those rough sleeping and those who may be affected by homelessness.
If you are concerned about someone who you think might be sleeping rough in Birmingham, please contact Street Link. An immediate alert will be sent to our local outreach team who will provide help and support to the individual.
- In the 2018 annual rough sleeper count, Birmingham reported 91 people sleeping rough on its streets. However, in 2019, this was almost halved with just 52 people found to be rough sleeping.
- Through the Everyone In programme approximately 15,000 vulnerable people have been housed in hotels and other forms of emergency accommodation, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes people coming in directly from the streets, people previously housed in shared night shelters and people who have become vulnerable to rough sleeping during the pandemic.
- The Next Steps Accommodation Programme makes available the resources needed to support local authorities and their partners to ensure that the current provision that has been set up to safeguard people who were taken safely from the streets is able to continue for an appropriate length of time. Organisations who have put in successful bids have clearly demonstrated in their proposal how the funding will be used to rapidly support those in COVID-19 emergency accommodation. The funding is for use during 2020/21 only.