Rough sleepers in York fell from nine to seven people in 2019 confirms Council

Following our story yesterday, the Council has now confirmed that the problems with rough sleeping in the City have eased a little over the last 12 months.

In a media release issued today they say, “After another year of prevention and giving tailored support to people sleeping rough in the city, more people have been helped into safer more stable accommodation.

The official, annual rough sleeper count in York showed seven people were sleeping on the street in 2019: down from nine in 2018.

The annual official count of rough sleepers takes place nationally at the same time. This year, City of York Council decided to do its count earlier than in previous years and before the additional winter beds open, to create a more accurate picture.

For two months before the count, information was gathered from statutory and non-statutory organisations, and it was established who was believed to be rough sleeping and who was confirmed to have accommodation. Information about where people often slept was collated from StreetLink reports, information from members of the public and from findings by the regular street walks.

On 30 October 2019 from 3.30am, officers from the council, the Salvation Army, North Yorkshire Police and local charities walked the streets of York looking for people sleeping out, and visited places known to be used by rough sleepers.

Seven rough sleepers were found and this number was verified independently by Homeless Link based on both the findings of the overnight count on 30 October and information gathered previously.

The number of people sleeping rough in York in 2019 is two fewer than in 2018. 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.

Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “While rough sleeping reduces average life expectancy from 83 to 47 years and we would rather no-one slept out at all, it is encouraging to know that fewer people are sleeping on the streets in York this year.

“While numbers of people sleeping out fluctuates throughout the year, this reduction shows the impact of our partnerships and our personalised work to help this people into the right kind of supported accommodation.

“I would like to thank our dedicated homelessness team and all our partners for their hard work and continued commitment to encourage more people off the streets.”

Cllr Keith Aspden, leader of the council, said: “This is welcome news. Sleeping on the streets is an indignity that no-one should face and the council is taking steps to support rough sleepers off the streets.

“Our homelessness prevention work has secured an extra £400,000 to help rough sleepers with more personalised support and to tackle complex mental health issues. The council and its partners have also opened 11 extra emergency beds this year, in order to ensure we can offer rough sleepers a safe place to sleep.”

Anyone who sees a person sleeping rough can ring Streetlink on 0300 500 0194 who will us to visit the location and offer support. Also, there are many ways to help people off the streets at www.york.gov.uk/roughsleeping .

We and our partner charities encourage people not to give cash direct to those appearing to beg, but to give to York Street Aid at www.tworidingscf.org.uk/yorkstreetaid/ . Money raised goes directly towards helping homeless people in York in personalised ways, such as buying clothing for interviews, a bike to get to work or paying rent on an allotment.

Homelessness prevention in York gets £251k boost

A new grant of £251,000 to help reduce homelessness in 2019/20 has been awarded to City of York Council by the government.

The money will contribute to work to create safe and supported housing options for people with complex needs who are ready to stop rough sleeping and begin to move back into mainstream housing. This will include an increased use of our making every adult matter service, known as MEAM.

It will also be used to provide early help and prevention services as outlined in our Homelessness Strategy 2018-23 launched in June this year. We’ll be providing additional outreach support and use of a targeted approach to work with rough sleepers and single homeless people – some of whom have complex needs – to help them secure and remain in accommodation.

York backs national homelessness campaign

 City of York Council is supporting national Homelessness Awareness Week (30 November to 8 December 2016) to highlight the support and advice available to people to help them into secure homes.

This annual week of social, educational and awareness-raising events across the country, aims to highlight homelessness and the continued efforts of organisations and staff to support people at risk of homelessness or who are homeless.

Here in York, a multi-agency partnership continues to call for people to support the city’s homeless charities who tirelessly support people off the street all year round. The partnership asks people not to give direct to anyone on the streets but to please donate direct to the expert charities.

For the campaign, an easy and safe way of giving to local homeless charities is being promoted and people who wish to help are asked to give £3 by texting ‘York33£3’ to ‘70070’.
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Homeless households reduce as prevention measures continue

Rough sleeper number up on target in November

Rough-sleeper-London-006A report on homelessness shows that despite the pressures of the Boxing Day Floods, numbers of temporarily homeless people were lower than forecast.

This and other outcomes will be presented to the Executive Member for Housing and Safer Communities on 18 July at 3pm, along with proposed targets and priorities for 2016/17.

In 2015/16 the council exceeded its target and reduced the number in temporary accommodation to 53. Statutory homelessness also continues to reduce with 91 cases in York in 2015/16 (an 11.6 per cent decrease on the previous year) which is in contrast to a national increase of 5.8 per cent. Added to that, 630 homeless prevention cases were successfully handled that year which the report recognises as a vital part of the service and significantly contributes to the reduction in statutory homelessness.

Providing bed and breakfast for families is recognised as a measure of last resort and then for no more than six weeks. As of the end of March 2016, there was only one household accommodated in bed and breakfast and this was not a family.

In addition, the council’s highly-successful Older Persons Housing Specialist exceeded targets by supporting older residents to meet their changing housing needs, and the service has been extended for a further six months.

Despite ongoing work, the commitment of agencies, continued resources and new flexible methods of working, the number of rough sleepers in York rose to 18 in November 2015.

York’s ongoing interventions by the council and partners – including Arc Light and the Salvation Army – means that the city has the resources to accommodate longer-term homeless people meaning that no-one need sleep rough in York. The city’s No Second Night Out scheme also helps rough sleeper in the city to find a place in a hostel.

The advice available to residents include work around mental health and housing to help people at risk to secure and maintain tenancies, while infrastructure improvements are being proposed for the Ordnance Lane temporary accommodation site.

National changes bring new challenges into social housing which could lead to the reduction in available affordable housing for rent which is likely to place additional pressures on the service.