Warwickshire County Council is pleased to announce an investment of £300,000 to tackle homelessness. The two-year programme of work will focus on those with mental health, drugs and/or alcohol problems. The council will work with District and Boroughs, CCGs, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, Warwickshire Police and third sector organisations to determine the best approach to support the local homeless population.
Every year in England, a rough sleeper count is carried out to give an estimate of numbers rough sleeping in local authority areas. During the last rough sleeper count, Warwickshire was estimated to have approximately 49 rough sleepers, the majority of them, choosing to sleep rough in the south of the county. This is an estimated increase of 20% from 2016 figures (MHCLG, 2017). This is only part of the picture with regard to homelessness. We also know that there are a proportion of people who have become homeless, but do not show up yet in official figures, sometimes known as ‘hidden homeless’. Often finding a temporary solution by making their own arrangements to stay with family members/friends (often known as sofa surfing) and in some cases living in unsecure accommodation or squats (Homeless Link, 2017).
In addition to rough sleeping and the hidden homeless, there are also individuals/households who are classed as statutory homeless, whereby they no longer have a legal right to occupy their accommodation or if it would no longer be reasonable to continue to live there, for example, if living there would lead to violence against them (DCLG, 2015).
Councillor Les Caborn, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health said “Warwickshire County Council is delighted to fund this work, it will directly feed into the objectives of the Warwickshire Cares Better Together Programme, in particular the housing theme, by using an integrated approach to support vulnerable people. Homelessness also features in the 2017 Director of Public Health Annual Report, Valuing the Vulnerable, highlighting that homeless people die on average 30 years before the general population. We need to come together as statutory partners to find a joint solution to this challenge and this funding will strengthen our ability to do that”.
Homeless Link (2017) https://www.homeless.org.uk/facts/homelessness-in-numbers/hidden-homelessness