Rough sleepers getting better help quicker
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Health, Housing
Housing association awarded nearly ¬£100,000 to prevent homelessness
A government-funded initiative has led to around 7 in 10 (67%) rough sleepers being helped off English streets the day they are found, with nearly 8 in 10 (78%) not returning after receiving help, a report has revealed.
'No Second Night Out across England' looks specifically at 20 areas and provides for the first time information on who is sleeping rough outside London, with those most likely to end up on the streets being male (83%), aged over 25 (85%) and a UK national (75%).
The 'No Second Night Out' (NSNO) scheme was developed as a standard for ensuring the right services are in place to help individuals off the streets as quickly as possible.
Umbrella body Homeless Link supported a pilot of the initiative in London in 2011 and its subsequent rollout across England through the £20 million homelessness transition fund. The report shows that almost all local authorities are now running or developing services based on the NSNO standard.
In London, where the initiative has been running longest, 75% of new rough sleepers were only seen once in 2012/13 compared to 62% in 2010/11.
However, the report warns that the progress made in the last two years can only be sustained through sufficient investment. Over 90% of NSNO services in the sample were funded by the homelessness transition fund, which is due to end in March 2015.
Homeless Link is calling on the government and councils across England to help protect investment in NSNO services.
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “For anyone forced to sleep rough, it is vital that they are given help before developing problems from which it can be extremely difficult to escape. That is why NSNO is such an important initiative and, as this report shows, one that clearly works.
“The NSNO standard allows councils to adapt services to suit the needs of their area, so it’s fantastic to see such positive results throughout England, with more individuals being supported towards long-term stability and independence.
“It is important, however, that we recognise the challenges that lie ahead in making sure this level of support for rough sleepers can continue. Government must continue funding services in order for the voluntary sector to meet demand for help.”
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins added: “The No Second Night Out standard has been a real success and has helped many vulnerable people facing the prospect of rough sleeping to get their lives back on track. It has given thousands of people the advice and support they need to ensure they do not have to spend a second night on the streets and I am pleased to see that this good work will continue.
“This government is determined to make every effort to help prevent and tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. That’s why we have invested £470m over four years to ensure that support is available to the most vulnerable people across the country.”