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.