City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Roger Lawrence, has presented the interim report of the Wolverhampton Tackling Rough Sleeping Task Team to Full Council.
The task team was established in 2017 and includes representatives from Wolverhampton Business Improvement District (BID), voluntary sector, West Midlands Police, Wolverhampton Homes and the council.
The number of people sleeping rough in the country is on the increase. In comparison with other cities Wolverhampton still has a relatively small rough sleeper population, but the task force is committed to ensuring no-one should be forced to live on the streets in the city.
To turn this aspiration into a reality the task team is taking forward activity in the following areas:
- A targeted and personalised support for rough sleepers in the city. This includes utilising funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority to develop specific accommodation for rough sleepers based on a Housing First model, in coordination with a Public Health led focus on ensuring rough sleepers can access appropriate services to meet their health needs.
- Development of a Corporate Social Responsibility offer to enable businesses to support the Alternative Giving Campaign and exploring opportunities for local business, in partnership with Wolverhampton BID and the council, to facilitate rough sleeper access to training and employment through the Wolves at Work programme.
- Mapping of voluntary and faith group activity with the aim of co-ordinating support and targeting it towards the most vulnerable, as well as long term measures to enable rough sleepers out of homelessness.
- Implementation of enforcement strategies to tackle illegal street behaviour in our city centres, without penalising genuine rough sleepers.
Councillor Lawrence said: “Despite successive government cuts to the city, the council and our partners have continued to prioritise tackling rough sleeping.
“However, it is clear delivering real and sustainable change to end rough sleeping in our city involves us all working together: rough sleepers themselves, public bodies, voluntary groups, the business sector, faith groups and the wider Wolverhampton community.
“We all have a part to play; only by working together can we end rough sleeping in Wolverhampton.”
Cherry Shine, Wolverhampton BID Director, added: “We are committed to helping people receive the right support or accommodation they need to get off the streets and Wolverhampton BID’s Alternative Giving Campaign has received generous public donations via the 19 donation points across the city centre.
“Developing the scheme to receive support from businesses will mean a massive step forward in helping Wolverhampton’s hardworking agencies to continue and expand their invaluable support.
“The reasons why people are homeless can be complicated and only addressed with the right agency support.”
The interim report can be viewed online at: www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/roughsleeping