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“Prevention is key” to keep number of rough sleepers low

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Housing bosses say “prevention is key” to helping people at risk of homelessness and rough sleeping across Dudley borough.

National rough sleeper data has been released today (Thu). Every year the government asks local authorities up and down the country to carry out a snap-shot count of the number of rough sleepers in the area.

The number of people sleeping rough on a single night in autumn in England has fallen for the fourth consecutive year, the report reveals. Dudley’s number of rough sleepers remains low and across the West Midlands region, the number is down by 20 per cent.

The most recent count took place in November last year and in Dudley, it found there were four rough sleepers. This is the same number as last year, but it was four different people.

The work of the council’s homelessness prevention team has helped keep this number consistently low. It continues to support people who are at risk of losing their home or find themselves in an emergency situation with nowhere to stay.

They offer advice and support to help people stay in their home or can find emergency accommodation and a long-term home.

In the last 12 months, the team’s work has been boosted by a £150,000 grant through the government’s rough sleeper initiative.

This money has been used to cover the cost of emergency accommodation, pay deposits to help people secure a new tenancy and recruit staff to increase the support available.

The team supported more than 2,400 people during 2021.

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, cabinet member for housing and community services, said:

The number of rough sleepers in our borough remains consistently low and this is encouraging.
Although four people sleeping on our streets is still four too many and we will continue to do all we can to support them.
We know prevention is key and that remains the focus of our homelessness prevention team.
We’ve seen lots of progress in the last 12 months, including the creation of our own scheme in Brierley Hill, which offers supported accommodation to people at risk of sleeping rough or who are already in that situation.
We are working with Black Country Housing Group and the West Midlands Combined Authority to provide five homes that will be made available for rough sleepers or former rough sleepers to support them to develop life skills and enable them to move on to long-term sustainable housing options.
We’re also working with Churches Housing Association for Dudley and District (CHADD) to expand our domestic abuse accommodation and support programme.
Finally, we’ve launched Change into Action, which encourages residents to donate online to support people.
If anyone is concerned someone could be sleeping rough, I’d urge them to get in touch as well as those who might be worried about their own circumstances and losing their home. The team is here to help.

Dudley Council has outlined its priorities to reduce homelessness in its updated homelessness prevention strategy. To view a copy click here.

To make a donation or to find out more about Change into Action go to www.changeintoaction.org.uk/dudley

Anyone at risk or becoming homeless or in need of support can call the homelessness prevention service via Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345.

People can report a rough sleeper via wwww.streetlink.org.uk, by calling 0300 555 0030 or through the Change into Action website - https://changeintoaction.org.uk/dudley

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