Council highlights World Homeless Day (10 October)
Shropshire Council is today highlighting World Homeless Day (Saturday 10 October 2020) to raise awareness about homeless issues, and to celebrate and support good practice happening locally and throughout the pandemic.
World Homeless Day aims to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally, and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness.
There are many often complex reasons to why people become homeless. Relationship breakdown, family eviction, and loss of private rented accommodation, are some of the main reasons for people becoming homeless in Shropshire.
Over the past 12 months the council have been working with partners and local communities to help people remain in their homes or get access to accommodation. To date the council has:
- Provided housing, advice and support to 3,369 households
- Placed 613 households in temporary accommodation (during both the floods and the pandemic)
- Accepted a homeless duty to 177 households.
Around the day we’ll be highlighting stories from those working with and those effected by homelessness. We’ll also be showcasing the work being done with The Shrewsbury Ark and partners during the pandemic and beyond, to support those who are homeless or at risk of losing their home.
Some of these include:
- Setting up of rough sleeper and dedicated Outreach Worker teams – who go out daily to provide whatever support is needed,
- Providing accommodation for rough sleepers during the pandemic – The housing team worked closely with the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury to help home rough sleepers during the spring lockdown.
- Homeless app – Developed by the council’s housing and ICT teams, the Homeless App helps arrange support for the people who are homeless. The app allows housing outreach workers to add information about a person’s situation (in real time) when they encounter them rough sleeping on the streets: a central team then use the information to seek support.
- Emergency support for rough sleepers in cold weather – Each year, all rough sleepers are offered accommodation over the winter period as soon as we know they’re on the streets.
- Alternative Giving Scheme – Four metal collection boxes are in place in Shrewsbury town centre, to encourage people to donate money directly to local homelessness charities, rather than giving direct to someone begging in the town’s streets.
The Shrewsbury Ark recently also launched a series of events to highlight the recent World Homeless Week to challenge, encourage, and support everyone to help homeless people. Events included an art exhibition which featured paintings, sculptures and prose produced by those who are homeless, as well as character portraits by local artist Emma Eccles and photo-journalist Alex Gatenby.
Robert Macey, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and strategic planning, said:-
“We know that homelessness is not just about a lack of accommodation, but is often connected to a wider set of more complex needs and situations. It can also have a major impact on both a person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
“I hope everyone will join us today to support and raise awareness of World Homeless Day and help eradicate homelessness in our county.”
Laura Fisher, Shropshire Council’s service manager for housing and occupational therapy, said:
“We delighted to be supporting World Homeless Day. We remain committed to ending rough sleeping within the county and, whilst it is recognised that this is not a simple task, we will continue to work with The Shrewsbury Ark and other key partners to explore housing initiatives and provide support to meet the needs and complexities of those sleeping rough.”
Shropshire Council was one of 274 local authorities who recently received a share of the £91.5m of Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme funding. The council will receive £123,500 of the Government funding, to ensure interim accommodation and support for the most vulnerable people, by:
- helping people into the private rented sector
- securing interim accommodation such as supported housing
- assessing the wider support these people need in order to rebuild their lives.
Laura Fisher added:-
“The recent £123,500 Government funding we’ve received will enable us to increase the number of support workers we have to work with our most vulnerable people, and also to access the social and private rented market through the use of landlord incentives such as increased levels of deposits, rent in advance and guaranteed rent.”
Shropshire Council has also put in a bid for a share of the further £161 million fund intended to provide over 3,300 additional supported homes this year for those sleeping rough or currently housed in emergency accommodation. The funding will be used for additional bedspaces within Shropshire. The council are currently waiting for an announcement regarding this funding.
Shropshire Council provides advice, help and support to anyone who is rough sleeping. If you’re sleeping rough or know someone who is you can contact the Housing Options team for help.
To get help for anyone sleeping rough, visit Streetlink or call our Housing Options team on 0345 678 9005.
You can follow @shropcouncil and @HomelessDay on twitter throughout World Homeless Day, hashtag #WorldHomelessDay.
The Shrewsbury Ark
- The Shrewsbury Ark are a volunteer-led charity governed by 10 volunteer trustees. They operate a day centre for those rough sleeping and at risk of homelessness from 10 Castle Foregate, Shrewsbury.
- They provide individual support – anything from a listening ear to supporting people to attend appointments, to applying for ID … the list is endless. They work in partnership with other services such as ‘We are with you’, medical care, Housing Options, Salute counselling, social work teams, probation, solicitors, West Mercia Police, etc
- They provide breakfast, lunch, shower facilities, emergency clothing/underwear, sleeping bags, rucksacks, toiletries, emergency food parcels, welfare packs etc, as well as enabling individual access to a telephone, computer, printer etc.
- They operate as a C/O address for those who are homeless, and assist with transport to reduce barriers attending hospital, court, visit family etc.
- In partnership with Shropshire Council they operate an outreach service which identifies people who are sleeping rough and offers support, understanding and signposting to all services, including them registering as homeless and accessing temporary accommodation.
- The outreach team continue to support individuals once they have moved into accommodation and work with multiple agencies to support the person’s transition off the streets and into a ‘home’.
Call: 01743 363305. Website: https://www.shrewsburyark.co.uk/ email: email@example.com