Charities call for action on wider problems of residual rough sleepers

Many of the rough sleepers left on the streets
have the greatest needs and multiple problems, despite the
government having almost reached its target of reducing the number
of street homeless to 600, according to two leading homelessness
charities last week.

Analysis of Shelter’s and Crisis’s Millennium
Plus initiative, a multi-agency advice and support project set up
two years ago, during the past year has found three main problems
affecting the 1,500 homeless people it has worked with. Alcohol and
drug problems affected 35 per cent of the 1,500 homeless people, 27
per cent had a mental health problem and 17 per cent a physical
health problem.

The initiative also found that many had a
common route into homelessness, with more than a quarter of rough
sleepers citing relationship breakdown as a primary cause, and a
fifth pointing to a lost tenancy or home.

Of the 1,500 homeless people involved in the
initiative, a comprehensive needs assessment was carried out with
379, leading to individual action plans aimed at finding long-term
housing and the support needed to sustain it. Housing was found for
362 people.

“We applaud the government’s work on street
homelessness, but it is vital we don’t stop at this,” said Shelter
director Chris Holmes. “We need an effective, compassionate
strategy to meet the needs of those on the streets after the
government’s target is met.”

Both charities hope that Millennium Plus may
be adopted as a multi-agency model that local authorities can use
in their homelessness strategies, which it is expected they will be
required to produce and publish under forthcoming homelessness

For further information about the study
contact 020 7505 2162 or 020 7505 1804.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.