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.

Homeless pressures easing a little in York?

Shelter the UK housing charity is claiming that “42 children in York” are homeless or living in temporary accommodation each day. The claims are difficult to reconcile with official figures published by the York Council earlier this week

According to the York Council, 29 beds are available for single homeless people facing rough sleeping.

The number of rough sleepers has reduced from 29 to 7.

Couples with children are given priority access to council house vacancies. 37 households with children were given priority housing last year.

In 63 cases this year couples were housed in temporary accommodation for a short time.  Families are not normally accommodated in “Bed and Breakfast” accommodation in York.

The figures reveal that the major cause of homelessness in the City was “family and friends no longer willing to accommodate the households”.

263 of the 684 homeless acceptances gave that as the reason for their predicament.

The next highest reason for homelessness was the end of a private rented tenancy.

A report to a meeting taking place later this week,says that the City of York Council is currently in a partnership with other organisations across York, under the guidance of the Homelessness Strategy 2018- 2023 Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Together. “This partnership has been well established for many years and continues to attempt to rise to the challenges of tackling all forms of homelessness”.

The report does however also observe that “We still have a strong street culture which remains difficult for people (especially those with addiction issues) to break away from, the camaraderie and financial gain made from begging remain strong contributing factors. This often results in members of the public assuming that rough sleeping numbers are higher than the actual number of people rough sleeping”.

Rough sleeping in York falls from 29 to nine people in 2018

The number of people sleeping rough in the city has reduced this year from 29 to nine, following work by City of York Council and partners.

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.

More rough sleeper beds available in York

More people sleeping rough in York can now safely bed down this winter as extra emergency beds are being offered whatever the weather until 28 February.

Earlier this year, senior councillors agreed that York should go above and beyond the national ‘severe weather scheme’. The 11 additional beds created bring the total emergency provision up to 29 beds. They are available in the winter months regardless of whether it’s freezing or not.

Besides these extra beds, the £193,000 extra funding secured for 2018/19 is also funding extra outreach workers to help rough sleepers address complex issues, especially around mental health.

Anyone found sleeping rough is encouraged to go to The Salvation Army’s new early intervention and prevention hub at 63 Lawrence Street, York YO10 3BU between 10am and 12 noon.

There, they will be allocated one of the city’s 29 emergency beds in keeping with the city’s No Second Night Out scheme. This means that no-one should have to sleep outside.

Five of the new emergency beds have been created at a council hostel and are being supported by volunteers from the YES Below Zero scheme. Rough sleepers’ dogs can also be brought into emergency accommodation – this has been the case since 2000.

People coming off the streets are placed in the city’s 101-bed supported lodgings. There, they 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 to train them for work and how to manage a 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.

Last year, we resettled 70 previously rough sleepers or single homeless people into permanent tenancies, and had 49 York households in our temporary accommodation – the lowest number since 2004.

Numbers sleeping rough in York still too high

A council report reveals that the authority missed its target for reducing the numbers of rough sleepers in the City. It had hoped to reduce the number to no more than 12 but at the test date last November 18 were found on the streets. This was the same number as a year previously. (NB. Some rough sleepers refused offers of assistance)

There was better news for other classes of homeless, with the number accepted for rehousing being 97 in the year an improvement on the target of 100.

In addition, preventative work was undertaken in 752 cases.

The main reasons for people becoming homeless were:

  1. Parental exclusion / family licence terminations remain a major cause of homelessness
  2. The number of relationship breakdowns due to violence
  3. Homelessness because of the loss of Assured Shorthold Tenancies remains high.

The housing waiting list remains stable with, at 31/3/17, 1596 York people registered with North Yorkshire Home Choice.

306 Council houses became vacant last year in the City. 53 additional properties were built for social rent.

The report reveals that there are now 7 refugee Syrian families living in private rented accommodation in the City

The Council says that one of its housing priorities is to prioritise a “reduction in rough sleeping, street drinking and begging (in conjunction with Community Safety Hub) and explore need for day facilities and night shelter in light of rising numbers of rough sleepers and associated street drinking and begging”.

New scheme announced to support the most vulnerable rough sleepers in York

On Tuesday 4 November, Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) is launching in York.

Whatever the weather this winter, and to give the most vulnerable rough sleepers safe shelter, on Tuesday 4 November,Arc Light and York Mind are launching Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) in York .

York – Number of residents accepted as homeless & numbers in temporary accommodation at year end
Year Accepted in temp. accom. at 31st March
2003/4 460 242
2004/5 424 259
2005/6 433 233
2006/7 214 207
2007/8 258 209
2008/9 208 167
2009/10 130 79
2010/11 183 94
2011/12 151 93
2012/13 146 99
2013/14 109 80
2014/15 Not available 65

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