Nationally the numbers have increased and the government has recognised this with funding being made available through the Homelessness Transition Fund. The fund, which was launched to help deliver the ‘No Second Night Out’ national agenda for preventing single homelessness and rough sleeping, is comprised of £20 million which is available to local authorities to ensure front line provision prevents rough sleeping from occurring.
In Herefordshire and Worcestershire the estimated numbers are high with Herefordshire reporting 26 cases and Worcestershire 61.
There is a current trend for rough sleepers to move to rural areas where crime levels are lower and support services are more readily available. Along with other rural counties, Herefordshire and Worcestershire have seen recent significant increases in rough sleepers accessing their services.
Councillor Russell B Hamilton, cabinet member for environment, housing and planning said: “We are totally committed to preventing and reducing homelessness in the county and our dedicated housing solutions team has successfully engaged with most of our 26 rough sleepers.”
“I am pleased to be able to report that as a result of the work we have been doing, seven rough sleepers have been housed recently, six are now staying with friends and another six have chosen to move on and left the county. Although this brings our total down to seven rough sleepers in Herefordshire, there can be no room for complacency and we will continue to do all we can to minimise the number of people in this situation.”
“We are also working closely with Worcestershire to tackle single homelessness as a preventative measure to rough sleeping, along with working towards the government agenda of No Second Night Out.”