Rough sleeper data released
The number of rough sleepers across Dudley borough remains consistently low, the latest data from the government has revealed.
Every year on one specific evening, the government asks local authorities up and down the country to carry out a count of the number of rough sleepers in the area.
The most recent count took place in November last year and in Dudley, it found there were four rough sleepers.
Up-to-date local data shows that this figure has reduced further and is now as low as two.
The work of the council’s homelessness prevention team has helped keep the number of rough sleepers across the borough low in the last 12 months despite the team seeing an increase in the number of people coming forward in need of emergency accommodation due to financial strains or relationship breakdowns.
The team has helped find accommodation for hundreds of people and prevented them from ending up on the streets.
This work has been supported by a £44,000 grant from the government’s rough sleeping initiative and as part of its drive for ‘everyone in’ during the pandemic.
The council has used to the funding to cover temporary accommodation costs and to provide rent deposit grants to help people move into longer term housing.
Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing and community services, said:
In the last 12 months the team has seen a real shift in the queries they are dealing with, going from a majority being about early intervention and prevention to more people needing to secure accommodation at short notice as they have been asked to leave their current homes.
Thanks to the work of the team and additional government funding we have been able to continue to help people in crisis situations and ensure they have a roof over their heads and somewhere warm to stay. This critical work has helped keep the number of rough sleepers on the borough’s streets to a minimum.
The most recent local intelligence shows there are two rough sleepers in the borough right now and we have approached them to offer accommodation, but we can’t force people to accept help.
As always, I would appeal to local people to report anyone they believe may be sleeping rough so we can ensure they are offered the help they need. And to anyone who is worried about losing their home, please get in touch with us as soon as possible, the team will be able to give you advice and the support you need.
Over the last three years the council has also been part of the government’s Housing First pilot. It received £270,000 to help house people who were at risk of becoming homeless or rough sleeping and had multiple complex needs.
The project’s aim was to find someone a home first and foremost and then look at what support can be offered to help maintain a tenancy and achieve other ambitions at their own pace. So far, the council has housed 29 people through this pilot.
The council has also recently been awarded £450,000 from the government to provide new accommodation for people at risk of becoming homeless and sleeping rough at Victoria Street in Brierley Hill.
To find out more about the work of the council’s homelessness prevention team go to https://www.dudley.gov.uk/residents/housing/housing-advice-information-and-support/homelessness/
People can report anyone sleeping rough by calling Dudley Council’s hotline on 0300 555 0030.