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West Midlands showing strength in numbers in fight against homelessness


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Local authorities from across the West Midlands have joined to help rough sleepers as they battle the harsh winter weather and ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic.


The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the Homelessness Taskforce, and partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors, have set out a joint winter plan with the aim of protecting people sleeping rough across the region.


As part of the plan, the partners will work together to identify local solutions to ensure that individuals are helped to move away from sleeping on the streets for good.


Councillor Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for vulnerable children and families at Birmingham City Council and chair of the WMCA Homelessness Taskforce Members Advisory Group, said “Birmingham’s Street Intervention Team offers a unique multi-agency approach to addressing the issue of rough sleeping and begging and the council continues to work closely with other agencies to help protect those most in need.


“I would always urge anyone who sees people sleeping rough to immediately contact StreetLink which is an organisation that specialises in supporting rough sleepers into safe accommodation.”


West Midlands Winter Plan for Rough Sleepers 2021/2022:

  • Across the West Midlands public, private and charitable agencies will be working to engage and support rough sleepers off the streets. Specifically, rough sleeper outreach teams in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton will work to rapidly respond to locate people known to be sleeping rough and support them to access a place of safety.
  • The West Midlands Housing First Pilot will continue to provide intensive support to those individuals who have come onto the programme with the most complex needs to enable them to recover from issues such as mental ill health or substance abuse and to sustain their tenancies.
  • Charities working with people at risk of homelessness in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton will be able to access funding through Change into Action and Alternative Giving CIO to support individuals off the street and to receive personalised support to meet their individual needs.
  • Members of the public right across the West Midlands will be able to alert local authorities about individuals who are sleeping rough in their area by contacting StreetLink so that they can be connected to local support services.
  • Each local authority will continue to monitor how many people are sleeping rough in the West Midlands and use this information to track our progress in tackling rough sleeping and to inform new approaches.
  • Local authorities and the WMCA will be working in partnership with charity, faith, community and voluntary organisations who create additional accommodation and support capacity across the winter and Christmas period to ensure that all individuals at risk of rough sleeping are supported.
  • Local authorities will encourage all professionals to check on the welfare of individuals sleeping rough and offer help or signposting.


Councillor Alison Rolf, Solihull Council cabinet member for stronger and safer communities,added: “In Solihull there are usually between two and six people who regularly sleep rough and our outreach team works hard to reduce this by checking the streets and supporting people to make the move off the streets and into accommodation.


“We’ve also prevented 242 households from becoming homeless this year and helped 731 people into long term housing.


“Our message is – nobody needs to sleep rough. People can help us by reporting anyone they think is sleeping rough via StreetLink, the national reporting system. You can also help provide additional support by donating to Change into Action Solihull.”


This winter West Midlands residents are being urged to let local authorities know about anybody who they think may be rough sleeping. For more information or to contact StreetLink, visit https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ or call 0300 500 0914.


Written by: David Watkins

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