Support Information for Cornish Homeless
Support information for Cornish Homeless has been issued to Councillors and is shared here: Members of the public who have concerns about a rough sleeper in their area should go to the Streetlink website (www.streetlink.org.uk). The rough sleeper will be contacted by the Street Outreach Team within 24 hours and offered advice, assistance and support to find accommodation.
Rough sleeping is an issue for the whole of Cornwall with a relatively high numbers of rough sleepers. The latest estimate, recently submitted to DCLG, of the number of rough sleepers in Cornwall on a typical night in November 2016, was 99 individuals. This shows an increase on the 65 reported the previous year. The official figures from all local authorities, which will indicate the national trend on the numbers of rough sleepers recorded, will not be published by DCLG until February 2017 so it is difficult to know how Cornwall’s figures, which are for the whole of the Duchy, compare to other areas, although we expect this to place Cornwall within the top 10 nationally.
Cornwall Council and its partners are developing a series of proposals as part of a comprehensive action plan to respond to the increase in rough sleeping in Cornwall. This will be aimed at stemming the flow of people on to the streets as well as providing accommodation/support options for existing rough sleepers and will take in good practice in this field, drawn from local and national examples. This is likely to be a medium to long term action plan. This action plan will be monitored via the Homelessness Strategy Delivery Group chaired by Cabinet Member for Housing, Joyce Duffin.
A bid to the Government’s Rough Sleeper Programme has given Cornwall just over £290,000 to deliver a ‘No First Night Out’ approach which includes Cornwall Housing, St Petroc’s and Coastline working together to prevent people from having to sleep rough in the first place.
In addition, Cornwall Housing has committed additional funding of £80,000 to maximise and sustain the many positive outcomes from the St Petroc’s temporary night shelter provision, which runs from mid-December to mid-February, and is supported with officer time by Cornwall Housing, Addaction, Stonham and Coastline Homelessness service.
Some individuals have such complex needs that if placed in accommodation without adequate and tailored support such placements would likely fail. Many have long housing histories with include past placements in supported housing, that mean many landlords in the social, private and voluntary sectors do not feel able to accommodate them. Without an ongoing commitment from support agencies and the individuals themselves, this group represent a risk that many landlords will not take. Government cuts to the Public Health grant has also reduced funding available to support people with drug and alcohol problems. New, innovative approaches are required- the views of the individuals themselves are important here and are being sought.
Cornwall Housing Ltd and its voluntary and statutory partners including St Petroc’s Society, Coastline Homelessness Service, Stonham and Shelter and Cornwall Council’s Education, Health, Social Care and the strategic housing teams are continuing to work together with targeted interventions to address the needs of new rough sleepers and more entrenched individuals through closer collaborative working.
There is a Cornwall Rough Sleeper Operational Group (CRSOG) which brings together agencies including Housing, Health, Criminal Justice, voluntary sector, Devon and Cornwall Police, Drug and Mental Health around the table to discuss individuals with complex support needs and develop joint solutions for them. The CRSOG has recently assisted a number of very chaotic individuals off the streets.
Cabinet Members for Housing and Communities are both aware of discussions recently concerning rough sleepers and individuals who engage in street drinking and/or anti-social behaviour. It’s important to recognise that they are not necessarily the same group of people. For those who engage in anti-social behaviour or aggressive begging, the Council continue to work with the Police to take enforcement action where appropriate but often a combination of enforcement and support for vulnerable people is required. These kinds of issues will not be resolved just by enforcement and moving people on to carry out the same kind of behaviour in another place.