Whose responsibility is it anyway? Responding to Homelessness

Homelessness is on the increase both nationally and on a local level. Increasingly we are seeing more people sleeping on the streets, but there are so many more hidden away.

Homelessness

“How many people sleep rough each night?

According to the latest figures, collected in the autumn of 2016 and published in January 2017, 4,134 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night.

Is rough sleeping on the rise?

There was an increase of 16% from 2015 to 2016, while since 2010 rough sleeping estimates show an increase of 134%.

Which areas saw the biggest increases?

The East of England has seen the biggest percentage increase in rough sleeping since last year (44%). This is followed by the North West (42%), the  East  Midlands (23%) and the North East (18%), all of which have seen increases in rough sleeping above the national average.”  www.homelessness.org.uk

What are the primary reasons of Homelessness?
Like many of society’s issues there is no straight forward answer, if it was down to one thing alone the problem would probably already have been solved.

“The most common reasons people give for losing their accommodation is that a friend or relatives  are no longer able to provide support or because of relationship breakdown.

However, there are often a wide number of factors at play. Individuals can arrive at the point of homelessness after a long chain of other life events.” www.homeless.org.uk

At the Daylight Centre around 15% of the people that use the centre are homeless and many more are helped through the Wellingborough and District Foodbank that we operate on  weekday afternoons. It is from the statistics  we collect that we can see the rise in homelessness.

2017 Rough Sleeping chart

This chart shows the number of people that have presented to the Wellingborough Foodbank as “homeless” between January 1st and 21st November 2017.

Compare this to 2016 (full year)
Rough Sleeping 61
Sofa Surfing 39
B & B Emergency accommodation 67

 

Supporting people in B & B emergency accommodation is providing quite a challenge to DCF and places extra demand on our already stretched resources. The emergency accommodation which is primarily hotels are provided for people at risk after assessment by local authorities. These people are often placed by other local authorities other than Wellingborough, and the person is then unable to access their normal support services, such as a GP.

What is being done about the need in Wellingborough?

Sadly there is no night shelter in Wellingborough, during the severest part of the winter the Borough Council make emergency provision when the temperature is forecast to drop below 0 degrees.

One of our trustees Councillor Valerie Anslow recently drew together over 20 people from different organisations to form a Homelessness Forum. It is clear that it is only by working in partnership that the true level of need will be identified and addressed by collaborative working.

The Daylight Centre offers the following services

  • Free Hot shower
  • Locker storage for valuables
  • c/o address service for post
  • Signposting to essential services
  • Free internet access
  • Free phone for contacting essential serrvices
  • Affordable hot meal service (free provision can be made while benefits are being secured)
  • Affordable second hand clothing (free provision can be made while benefits are being secured)
  • Sleeping bags, bedding
  • A warm friendly environment
  • A listening ear
  • Access to emergency food supply via the Foodbank

This support brings help and support but only deals with the symptoms of the issue of Homelessness and by its very nature it is reactionary. Informed collaborative working to resolve the underlying issues is necessary and the new Homelessness Forum we hope,in time ,will make a significant difference.

 

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