Industry News

Rough sleeping in the West Midlands at its lowest since 2010


atest annual figures show a 62 per cent reduction in the number of people sleeping rough across the West Midlands Combined Authority area as the numbers fell from 115 in 2019 to just 44 in 2020.

Work undertaken by local authorities and partners from the public, private

and voluntary sectors across the region throughout the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic has ensured greater numbers of people who are rough sleeping or at risk of homelessness, have been protected and supported into accommodation. Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I am delighted that we

have seen another significant reduction in the number of rough sleepers across the West Midlands, which shows what can be achieved through collaborative working. From local councils and the West Midlands Combined Authority, to homelessness charities and Government, we would not have been able to help the number of rough sleepers we have without the whole region working in partnership. To go from nearly 170 rough sleepers in 2018 to less than 45 in 2020 is a phenomenal achievement. “Clearly the Everyone In initiative throughout the Coronavirus pandemic

has had a major impact in helping rough sleepers across the West Midlands, but we would not have been able to make the reductions we have without the hard work and dedication of local authorities and their outreach teams, as well as pioneering schemes such as Housing First – which has now helped more than 350 people into permanent accommodation with wrap-around support – and Change into Action.

“But however well the region may have done over the last two years, it is far from job done. The Government’s commitment to end rough sleeping by 2024 is fast approaching and we are still seeing a flow of new people coming onto the streets.

“As a region we remain determined to continue to tackle rough sleeping, but

we must be supported by continued Government funding to ensure we can build on the work we have done in recent years.” Continued help for people sleeping rough has been provided and supported

by funding which the region has attracted from the Government including £2.88m of money from the Rough Sleeping Initiative to provide local support to those living on the streets. And an additional £8.97m of funding came through initiatives such as the Next Steps Accommodation Programme, Protect Programme and Protect Plus Programme which aim to build on earlier work in the pandemic to provide longer-term accommodation for former rough sleepers. | HMM April/May 2021 | 21

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