Thousands of rough sleepers will be offered support to aid them in recovering from life on the streets through the creation of new sleeping centres
As part of the government’s £100 million Rough Sleeping Strategy – 11 Somewhere Safe to Stay centres will be set up across the country. These will help provide immediate shelter and rapid assessment for those sleeping rough or at risk of doing so as well as specialist support to address those with complex needs such as mental health problems and substance misuse.
This builds on the first year of the Rough Sleeping Initiative, launched in March, which is providing £64 million to over 80 councils over the next 2 years to support rough sleepers in their area.
This funding is already being put to good use by creating 1,750 new bed spaces, as well as an additional 500 outreach workers, many of whom are already working tirelessly to support people off the streets and into recovery.
The new hubs – backed by up to £4.8 million government funding – will be up and running by spring 2019, with a further 4 centres to follow next year.
Today’s announcement follows the publication of the government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy delivery plan earlier this month which set out targets and deadlines for 61 strategy commitments.
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “No one should ever have to face a night on the streets, and as a government, we are taking steps to ensure people are never faced with this as their only option.
“These are vulnerable people, who may be dealing with complex mental health problems or addictions and require specialist help to tackle these issues and turn their lives around.
“That’s why these vital new hubs will ensure those on the streets have access to professional help and guidance to start their recovery.”
The first Somewhere Safe to Stay hubs will be launched in the following areas:
- Brighton & Hove
- Cheshire West & Chester
- Gloucestershire (encompassing the 7 councils in the county)
- Nottingham City
- West London (encompassing 7 borough councils)
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “St Mungo’s is very pleased to be involved in the Somewhere Safe to Stay pilots. These will offer much-needed emergency shelter where people in crisis can have their needs assessed urgently away from the extreme dangers of sleeping on the streets.
“Crucially, these services will be targeted at those at immediate risk of sleeping rough. We will be encouraging a thorough evaluation of these pilots and want to see the learning used to roll out an approach to every area of the country that means no one who is homeless has to sleep rough before they receive the support they need.”
- The hub will be the only rapid assessment centre in the city centre and will have the capacity for female or more vulnerable users.
- As a 24-hour service, it will allow for day programmes to be offered to those seeking support during the day.
- It will also be an integral part of the Bristol Shelter Programme, which includes a number of other charities and groups operating locally.
- The hub will be located in Shepherd’s Bush, run in partnership with the charity St Mungo’s.
- It will complement and add to the existing No Second Night Out shelter by allowing referrals from a wider range of agencies and helping people receive support from services faster.
- It will provide separate spaces for women and the option of rooms for, particularly vulnerable individuals.
Each centre will help those sleeping rough to be quickly assessed by specialist outreach workers, so they get the support they need to take the first steps towards recovery.
The hubs will play a vital role in identifying the issues that led to an individual sleeping on the streets in the first place and provide support to help them through things like a relationship breakdown, addiction or financial difficulties.
An estimated 6,000 people are expected to receive support through all 15 hubs by 2020.