Homeless Outreach Street Triage (HOST)
There are a large number of Rough Sleepers in Shrewsbury at the moment. This is unacceptable on two levels; no one should be homeless in Shrewsbury in 2016 - especially with winter fast approaching, and that a small number of Rough sleepers are persistently committing antisocial behaviour in Shrewsbury.
According to the latest figures, collected in the autumn of 2015 and published in February 2016, 3,569 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night in England. There was an increase of 30% from 2014 to 2015, while since 2010 rough sleeping estimates show an increase of 102%. The South West has seen the biggest percentage increase in rough sleeping since last year (41%). This is followed by the East of England (38%), the South East (36%) and the West Midlands (34%), all of which have seen increases in rough sleeping above the national average.
Rough Sleepers are often vulnerable individuals who need help and support. Homelessness is not pleasant for anyone, and Team Shrewsbury are providing support through Shropshire Council (Housing Options), The Ark (including an outreach service) and Shrewsbury Street Pastors.
HOST is an new outreach vehicle from Team Shrewsbury, containing a combination of a plain clothes Police Officer, a mental health social worker from The Redwoods Centre, an Ark Outreach worker, Shropshire Recovery Partnership worker (previously called substance misuse) and a housing officer from Shropshire Council. The team will visit Rough Sleepers on the street and aim to fast-track the help and support available to them, working as a team to get Rough Sleepers accommodated quicker than ever before. The team will discuss the impact with the individual that they may be having on local residents and businesses, and reinforce the need to engage with agencies that can help them off the streets.
The team will also promote the Alternative Giving Scheme, launched by Team Shrewsbury in the spring. This supports Rough Sleepers by providing a means for the public to donate directly to The Ark, Street Pastors and the Rough Sleepers Taskforce. Funds have been used to pay first months rent for three Rough Sleepers this year. Donations can be made at collection boxes at The Square, Pride Hill, Railway Station & Frankwell. In addition, the public can report concerns for a Rough Sleeper using Street link,www.streetlink.org.uk or by calling 03005000915.
This new initiative will commence on 3rd October 2016, for a trial period.
Pc 3733 Jon Summerfield
Safer Neighbourhood Officer
Shrewsbury Rural North and District
Pontesbury Police Station