Ongoing drive has helped 19 people off the streets
The number of people sleeping rough in the borough has fallen by more than half thanks to an ongoing drive to tackle the problem across the capital.
Wandsworth Council, along with a number of outreach teams operating in the borough, has been striving to identify and help rough sleepers in the area as well as offering them help getting off the streets and finding somewhere to stay.
Since the end of 2010, the estimated total number of people sleeping rough in Wandsworth has dropped from 34 to 15.
Two of those given assistance finding accommodation had previously been deemed to be entrenched rough sleepers – individuals who have traditionally been hard to engage with and who are reluctant to accept assistance.
The dedicated partnership work began in response to the Mayor of London’s ‘No Second Night Out’ initiative, which aims to tackle rough sleeping by identifying new rough sleepers and helping them off the streets immediately so they do not become trapped in that lifestyle.
Along with council officers, Equinox Outreach/Floating Support team, Thames Reach’s London Street Rescue and Broadway Personalisation team have been hard at work offering help to rough sleepers.
The council’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Paul Ellis, praised the work of everyone involved – adding that their efforts identifying where rough sleepers came from was paving the way for continued improvements in associated prevention and recovery services. He said:
“This kind of work requires enormous dedication and care because it has a clear and direct impact on peoples’ lives. Council staff and partner agencies involved have worked tirelessly to give people they have found sleeping rough as much support as they need getting off the streets and into accommodation.
“This team effort has resulted in the number of rough sleepers in Wandsworth falling by more than half in an 18 month period, which is a fantastic achievement. However, we will not stop there. The long term goal is to ensure that no one finds themselves sleeping rough on the borough’s streets – and to do that the research, support and outreach work must continue.”
At the end of last year, the team of council officers conducted a rough sleeper street count – the first count of its kind in the borough – which saw 40 participants from seven partner agencies visiting various locations across the borough during one overnight period.
On that occasion, the officers – named ‘Team of the Year for 2012’ by Wandsworth’s housing department – discovered five rough sleepers, with two previously unknown individuals being given help accessing homeless services as a result.
The intervention work that has been carried out to date includes fast tracking referrals to supported housing and undertaking housing assessments to help people into more sustained resettlement solutions, with ongoing floating support to assist with tenancy issues.
Meanwhile, a Rough Sleeper forum has been established. The forum meets monthly to discuss the latest issues and plan strategies to further help anyone sleeping rough in Wandsworth. Anyone in need of housing advice can receive support through a number of channels.
August 30, 2012