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Coventry showing support for rough sleepers throughout the festive season

today22/12/2021

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The Council’s rough sleeper outreach team and partner agencies in the city are reminding local people what to do if they see someone sleeping rough – especially during severe winter weather.

This time of year, the Council operates a severe weather protocol (SWEP) when everyone and anyone regardless of status, previous history, and regardless of a local connection to the city can access accommodation on the night.

The Council’s outreach team, which has grown over the past 18 months, are aware that there are a few people who won’t normally engage – and at this time extra efforts are made to actively locate them and make arrangements for them to access accommodation.

Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, said “We increased our rough sleeper outreach team from three people to nine people and the team is continuing to grow through additional funding and the creation of specialist roles to actively identify and support people who are street homeless and to help rough sleepers to stay in the accommodation that is available.”

The outreach team and other agencies work from 6am when they conduct an outreach walk until 5 pm. The Salvation Army is staffed 24 / 7 and if an individual presents, they will be supported to call the out of hours provision.

Alongside the outreach team the Council also has a housing and homeless prevention team ready to respond Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Their contact number is 024 7683 4025.

There are many ways that people have been showing support and donating, including:

  • During Christmas Week ‘Open Christmas’ will be providing a place for shelter and food for people who are homeless or lonely from 8am till 10pm every day at Queen’s Road Baptist Church.
  • The Council’s rough sleeper outreach team have been providing take away food and presents to people they support.
  • Crisis Skylight have been running a wellbeing week for their members and will be doing a meal on Christmas Day, 

People can also make contactless donations of £3 to help provide support to people who are sleeping rough. The scheme called Change into Action covers things like rental deposits for permanent accommodation to new clothing and training for jobs.

Dozens of people have been helped by the scheme. Payment consoles are available at Coventry Building centre, High Street and McDonalds, Cross Cheaping, and at Timpson in Broadgate.

Cllr Welsh added: “We have a range of accommodation options to use to support people. If someone has got no home or friends or family to stay with and has no option but to rough sleep, the outreach team will look to engage them at the earliest opportunity.”

Over Christmas the out of hours services will operate from 5pm on Friday 24 December to 9am on Wednesday 29 December.

This service will also operate from 5pm on Friday 31 December to 9am on Tuesday 4 January. The frontline homeless service will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 4 January.

The public can let the team know of the whereabouts of someone rough sleeping by reporting here: www.streetlink.org.uk

 

Written by: David Watkins

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