On Wednesday 13 January, Cabinet is set to discuss rough sleeping in Barnsley and future plans following the council's Prevention of Homelessness Strategy in 2018 and the 'Everybody In' initiative brought in by the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prevention of Homelessness Strategy states that the council will look to "ending homelessness in Barnsley by 2023" and contains five key priorities:
- To maximise homeless prevention options, activities and outcomes
- Supporting those with complex needs
- Reduce the demand for temporary accommodation and eliminate the use of Bed and Breakfast
- Protect and increase local housing options
- Maximise and maintain partnership working
In response to the pandemic, the government championed 'Everybody In'. Barnsley Council found self-contained accommodation from April 2020 with the vision to make onward provision and sustained accommodation, in line with government plans.
Since 1 April 2020 the Housing Options team have supported a number of people, preventing homelessness and supporting people to access temporary housing, longer term housing or where required supported accommodation. We appreciate the support of the public and our partners who help to ensure we can support people at the earliest opportunity.
The team are currently seeing low numbers of rough sleepers due to the ‘Everyone In’ mandate by the government and the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP). We continue to encourage people to report anyone sleeping rough through Streetlink’s website, or their app and they will contact us.
Cabinet will discuss the proposed accommodation pathway, which is designed to match the needs of those faced with housing crisis across the borough
The plan proposes a multi-agency staffing team dedicated to working with people facing a housing crisis and helping those with a wider range of underlying issues, including mental and physical health, substance misuse, offending and unemployment.
Alongside an intensive supported housing offer, following a similar approach to the 'Everybody In' accommodation, the new model will be very different from what was previously provided at Holden House. It will offer a smaller and more intensively managed provision as part of a more comprehensive accommodation pathway to meet acute housing need.
Evidence supports the effectiveness of providing intensive housing management support to people faced with homelessness or those who have been long term rough sleeping.
There is already a range of services offered to support people in a housing crisis and with complex needs; however, those in most acute need often fall back into crisis. The council feel that providing this level of ongoing housing management will lead to better outcomes for individuals.
Councillor Jenny Platts, Cabinet spokesperson for Adults and Communities, said: "It's important that we look at all the options available to help people in our borough who find themselves in a housing crisis or are struggling with other issues that stop them living independently.
"During the 'Everybody In' campaign, we have seen several successful cases where people are now in their own homes once again, back in work and successfully managing their lives.
"A huge thank you has to be given to our housing options team, who have helped people to learn budgeting skills, held cook and eat sessions and given people the best chance to live a better life in our borough."