Bid to end rough sleeping by 2012 ‘makes progress’

The government’s strategy to end rough sleeping in England is making headway in its first year, according to a progress report released last week.

The report summarises actions taken in the past year to help meet the ‘No One Left Out’ strategy’s goal of ending rough sleeping in England by 2012.

Funding has been provided to help hundreds of rough sleepers find homes in the private rented sector through small grants to local authorities, which have funded deposits for tenancies.

A mentoring and befriending scheme has also been established to help vulnerable ex-rough sleepers stay in accommodation, while specialist advisers have been working with councils across England to help them reduce rough sleeping.

The report also details action taken by London mayor Boris Johnson’s delivery board to tackle rough sleeping, which has identified the 205 most entrenched rough sleepers and helped 140 of them to come off the streets.

The latest national figures, published in September, showed 464 people were sleeping rough in England, down from 483 in 2008. However, the 2009 figures were based on local authority street counts carried out from January 2008 to May 2009.

Jenny Edwards, chief executive of Homeless Link, the national umbrella organisation for agencies working to end homelessness, welcomed progress over the past year, adding: “We must not become complacent, especially at this time of intense economic and social pressure. We must constantly seek to learn from others and push ahead if we are finally to close the door into rough sleeping in every community.”

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