Nottingham’s extra support measures for rough sleepers have kicked this week in the cold weather – providing enough shelter for anyone otherwise sleeping on the street as the temperatures drop.
Nottingham City Council and its partners offer a range of support all year round, which is stepped up between October and April with extra safeguards in place when temperatures fall below zero.
Every year, the council leads a multi-agency group, including Framework, Emmanuel House, voluntary organisations and local churches, to develop a cold weather plan which aims to prevent and respond to rough sleeping, as well as reducing the risks to the health and well-being of those who sleep on the streets during winter months.
The council is committed to working throughout the year to try to prevent homelessness happening in the first place and providing support when it happens.
All available Government funding is being used to help the authority’s ongoing drive to tackle homelessness and it has recently been successful in applying for an additional grant of around £300,000 to be spent on accommodation and outreach services.
This includes specialist roles to help engage those who refuse help and to support people back to their accommodation who are rough sleeping despite having housing available.
This is on top of £2.2m from the Rough Sleeping Initiative which has been awarded to Nottingham this year to support rough sleepers.
The council has also been successful in bids for Government funding to help ex-offenders into accommodation upon release from prison, to deliver accommodation for homeless patients released from hospital, provide specialist housing for female rough sleepers who have survived domestic violence and, alongside housing provider partners, deliver new homes for rough sleepers.
Help available this winter includes:
- Beds in hostels and specialist accommodation;
- Dozens of daily opportunities for rough sleepers to get a free hot drink, meal or hot shower;
- Everyone gets an offer of accommodation when the temperature falls to zero degrees Centigrade or below;
- A variety of accommodation available, mainly within in existing services but based upon the individual and their needs;
- The winter night shelter running until April;
- Our Street Outreach Teams out daily from 5.30am talking to rough sleepers and offering them accommodation
- Framework will be on shift until 9pm with the Red Cross on cold evenings, visiting people in their rough-sleeping spots and assessing them for the most appropriate accommodation.
For more information, including advice for anyone facing homelessness, visit https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/information-for-residents/housing/homelessness-prevention-and-advice
Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: “As the cold nights draw in, we are doing all that we can to make sure that no-one needs to sleep rough in Nottingham this winter. That is why we will continue to prioritise securing funding for local services for rough sleepers in Nottingham, working alongside charities, faith groups and other agencies to make sure there are enough beds for anyone who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.
“We have robust measures in place all year round to provide support for anyone who sadly finds themselves on Nottingham streets. These are stepped up further when temperatures fall below zero, which involves making additional shelter available and offering it to all identified rough sleepers to ensure they are protected from the cold.
“You may still see people on the streets as although all are offered support, for a variety of complex reasons some don’t accept it. Others may be people who beg who are not homeless. We would urge anyone who wants to help to donate to charities who are in a position to provide the best support.”
Framework’s Chief Executive Andrew Redfern said: “Rough sleeping is the most obvious form of homelessness and it is a life-threatening existence – especially at this time of year when the temperatures are so low.
“It is good to be part of the coordinated response led by the City Council and working with other partners which gives us the best chance to help people in greatest need.
“This is life-saving work that we have been doing for very many years: the charities that became Framework were formed in response to the death of people on the streets of Nottingham in the early 1970s.”
Homelessness and rough sleeping is unfortunately on the rise nationally and locally. Members of the public who see a rough sleeper can contact the street outreach team by texting SOT and a message to 80800, calling 0800 066 5356 for free 24/7 or go to www.streetlink.org.uk