People sleeping rough in York can safely bed down this winter as extra emergency beds are being offered again, whatever the weather, from 1 November 2019 until 28 February 2020.
Besides securing nearly £400,000 extra fund for additional outreach workers to give rough more intensive support especially around mental health, York goes above and beyond the national ‘severe weather scheme’. Regardless of whether it’s freezing or not, we make extra emergency beds available bringing the total up to 29 in the winter months: that’s 20 more beds than our current official number of nine rough sleepers in the city.
Five of the emergency beds have been created at a council hostel and are being supported by volunteers from the YES Below Zero scheme. Last year this provision supported 18 rough sleepers into private rented accommodation.
Also in 2018-19, the council resettled 58 former rough sleepers or single homeless people into permanent tenancies, and accommodated 66 households during a period of homelessness.
People leaving sleeping on the streets are placed in the city’s 101-bed supported accommodation schemes. Their dogs can also be brought into emergency accommodation as has been the case in York since 2000.
The people are offered support and education to help address any of the issues that may have contributed to them becoming homeless. This includes referral to services for mental health or substance misuse, and training for work and how to manage a lasting tenancy.
Once that stage is successfully underway, they are allocated space in the city’s 90 independent accommodation units before, hopefully, supporting them into either private or affordable fully-independent homes.
Councillor Denise Craghill, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “Rough sleeping has increased by 132% nationally since 2010 with only a small decrease of 6% nationally during 2018-19. We have secured nearly £400,000 funding for 2019/20 to explore new ways to prevent it, as sleeping on the street lowers life expectancy to 47 years.
“With our partners The Salvation Army, Changing Lives, Peasholme Charity, Restore, YES Below Zero, Carecent and KEY, we continue to offer all known people sleeping rough help to get off the street and into safer, more stable lifestyle, including extra support for people with mental health and substance misuse issues.
“Help is routinely offered to rough sleepers on the early morning walks undertaken several times a week when everyone is offered a bed.”
Charles Walters, of the YES Below Zero team, said: “We are looking forward to building on the solid start YES Below Zero made over the 2018/2019 winter season. The team of volunteers was encouraged by the significant number of positive outcomes.
“As we gear up to help contribute capacity to the emergency bed provision for this next winter season, we invite those who are interested in volunteering to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.”
- To alert support services to a rough sleeper, please ring Street Link on 0300 500 0914.
- Or, please join us encouraging people sleeping rough to go to The Salvation Army’s early intervention and prevention hub at 63 Lawrence Street, York YO10 3BU between 10am and 12 noon when they’ll be given support.
- At night or the weekend, rough sleepers can call 01609 780780 for help.
- To find out ways to donate and support people out of homelessness, please visit www.york.gov.uk/roughsleeping