In 2017, the official number was 29, in 2016 and 2015 it was 18. Work continues to reduce this number further and help more people off the streets into safer, more stable lives.
The count this year was conducted on 21 November into the early morning the following day. That night, all known locations where people sleep out and those reported to Streetlink were visited by officers from the Salvation Army and North Yorkshire Police.
For two months beforehand, information on people who beg, people who have accommodation and those who do not, had been gathered from the city’s agencies. The agencies met after the count to evaluate that information and the people found on the night. Actually six people were found sleeping rough on 21 November, but the agencies added to the list three more known rough sleepers who hadn’t been seen that night and who were known not to have taken up accommodation. The final figure of nine was verified independently by Homeless Link.
To support more rough sleepers off the streets, the council and charity Changing Lives opened 11 extra emergency beds ahead of the winter months this year giving the city a total 29 to match last year’s number of rough sleepers. Also, a new early help and prevention hub was opened by The Salvation Army in the summer at 63 Lawrence Street where any single person without a bed for the night should visit between 10am-midday.
To help address the complex reasons underlying rough sleeping, the council has secured £193,000 for 2018/19 to provide a more targeted and innovative approach, including additional support for those with mental health issues.
Anyone who sees someone sleeping rough can ring Streetlink on 0300 500 0194. This national helpline alerts local agencies to visit the location and offer support.
We encourage people not to give cash direct to those appearing to beg, but to contribute to personalised support for genuine rough sleepers by texting YORK35 £3 – or whatever sum they’d like to give – to 70070.