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Extra support to help York's rough sleepers


1:21pm 18th January 2018

A proposal to give rough sleepers additional support off the streets and into safer, more stable lives will be made to senior councillors in York.

The recommendation will be to offer 16 emergency beds continuously to rough sleepers whatever the weather from 1 November to 28 February.

Currently, under the national ‘severe weather scheme’ the beds are available only during these months when the weather is freezing or below.

Councillors will be asked to consider increasing the number of emergency beds in the city using £125,000 available over a three-year period to pilot an innovative scheme to meet the needs of the city.

In addition, the executive will be asked to allocate some of the agreed £20m housing investment fund over the next five years to build affordable one bedroom homes to help reduce homelessness among single people or couples.

The final suggestion is to recruit an officer to help individuals into private accommodation as well as acting as a contact for and offering support to landlords.

This is in addition to the existing 101-bed supported lodgings where rough sleepers are first accommodated.

If they engage with support and education services, they are then allocated into the city’s 90 more independent accommodation units before, hopefully, supporting them into either private or affordable fully independent homes. Last year, the council  resettled 70 previously homeless people into permanent tenancies.

All known rough sleepers are routinely offered support and help into accommodation by the council and Salvation Army on the early morning walks undertaken several times a week.

Everyone is offered a bed, even if it is just for one night.

However it's reported that some persistently refuse any form of help, including mental health or substance misuse services.

However, rough sleeping has increased by 132% nationally since 2010 and the charity Crisis predicts there will be a 76% rise in rough sleeping nationally over the next decade.

29 rough sleepers were reported in York at the annual street count in November 2017, but during an informal street walk on 3 January 2018, nine were seen, others having been helped into accommodation or emergency beds.

At the end of September 2017 there were 58 households in temporary accommodation in York, 324 interventions having been made to prevent homelessness from April to September 2017.

The planning application has been submitted and will be considered on 18 January 2018.

Cllr Sam Lisle, executive member for housing and safer communities, said:

“We work with our partners the Salvation Army and Carecent to help people off the street and into safer, more stable lifestyles. Work is ongoing to explore different ways to prevent people rough sleeping because life expectancy lowers to 47 when living on the street.

We’re currently looking to add three extra spaces at Peasholme and Howe Hill as well as asking council to consider extending the severe weather beds.”

Executive takes place on Thursday 25 January from 5.30pm and is open to members of the public or is available to watch live online from:


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