Barnsley Council along with key partners has developed a Homeless Prevention and Rough Sleeping Strategy which sets out a collaborative approach to tackling the increase of people becoming homeless in Barnsley over the next five years.
In Barnsley last year, 1,548 people, including singles, couples and families approached the council for Advice and support in finding or keeping their accommodation. Of those 677 people were assisted by the local authority to prevent them from becoming homeless.
People who find themselves on the streets, homeless or begging, is often due to a range of complex factors and circumstances that can lead to people having nowhere to live.
To support the homeless agenda in Barnsley, a Homeless Alliance has been established and as part of the new strategy will work together to prevent homelessness by providing more help to people at risk earlier on, working more closely with the most vulnerable groups and reduce the use of temporary accommodation and instead use local housing options available. There are real links between homelessness and health, and access to employment and these will be addressed too.
The Homeless Alliance is encouraging alternative ways of giving support to those who find themselves homeless and begging, such as:
- giving time
- donations to charities and support services;
- speaking to the people and encouraging them to access support services;
- giving food or a drink rather than money
- buying a copy of the Big Issue as they are sold by vendors who are working rather than begging.
Cllr Jenny Platts, spokesperson for Communities, said: “We have made positive progress over the last five years in supporting those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, but we know more needs to be done.
“This strategy sets out our approach for tackling homelessness in the borough. Our primary focus is to prevent homelessness in the first place and helping those who are homeless to build a better future.
“Our vision is ‘Working in partnership to end homelessness in Barnsley’, and I would like to thank partners who have contributed and supported the development of this strategy.
“It is crucial in such times where budgets are reducing, and demand for specialist services are increasing, that we work together and pool our resources to ensure people in our communities get the right support, at the right time.
“No single organisation can solve homelessness alone; we must all proactively work together to intervene earlier and prevent it happening.
“I would encourage people to ‘help us help them’; by giving to the Homeless Alliance who will ensure that this goes to support the people in a genuine crisis.”
Dan Jarvis, MP for Barnsley Central and Elected Mayor of Sheffield City Region, added: “We must all take collective responsibility for providing practical support to those who find themselves sleeping rough or begging on the streets. Volunteering time, donating goods or simply stopping to make sure someone knows about the help available in Barnsley will make a real difference.
“As Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, I am committed to tackling homelessness and rough-sleeping across our region. It is estimated that around 4,750 people sleep rough every day in Britain. The fact that anyone in the 21st century has to sleep rough is an absolute disgrace. That is why next month I will be hosting a city region summit on homelessness to create an action plan to eradicate homelessness in South Yorkshire.”
Tyler Moore, Yorkshire Regional Manager, Centrepoint, said: “As the key young persons multiple needs supported accommodation provider in Barnsley Centrepoint welcome the commitment and approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. We welcome the opportunity to be involved in a collaborative and collective approach to tackling and hopefully eradicating the fundamental causes of homelessness and rough sleeping across the district.”