Rough Sleeping in Telford
Alan Olver Chief Executive Officer of Maninplace Charity and Maninplace Estate Community Interest Company commented:
In the last 10 days l have been asked what was being done for rough sleepers during the winter in Telford & Wrekin.
Some have dared to say “nothing”, here is an attempt to answer those enquiring.
The government requires every local authority to have in place a Severe Weather programme for rough sleepers during the coldest three months (December to March) of the year.
The requirement is that Councils and local partners (Charities) working with the homeless bring rough sleepers in from the cold. There is no additional funding from government for the cost of this provision, there is an expectation that Charities and Councils will resource this programme.
The reality in Telford and Wrekin is the programme is resourced by the generosity of local people, charities and Telford & Wrekin Council. The two organisations working with Maninplace to prevent rough sleeping are Stay Homeless Outreach worker and KiP.
The motivation of those who work to provide the Severe Weather provision here in Telford and Wrekin is to enable the preservation and quality of life by bringing individuals inside rather than they sleep rough. This has its challenges in itself around challenging behaviour and individuals choosing to sleep rough.
Whilst acknowledging that this is probably at the heart of the government’s requirement, their broader objectives are to reduce the demands on A&E departments, prevent hospitalisation, and reduce further the pressure on limited Mental Health Services, on Policing and community safety.
The Severe Weather service is a proactive response to rough sleeping and homelessness during the winter. However there is clear evidence visually and numerically that rough sleeping and homelessness is increasing not only in Telford and Wrekin but across the country. Maninplace alongside, and in partnership with Stay, YMCA, KiP, Bromford and Telford & Wrekin Council work proactively to prevent and provide for the Homeless.
In Telford and Wrekin the Severe Weather programme from 1st December 2017 / 1st March 2018 received 176 referrals, of those Maninplace accommodated 87 in its emergency provision so preventing them from rough sleeping.