After drawing up an action plan aimed at making a lasting difference to homelessness, council owners have pledged to take as many sleepers off the streets as possible in the West Midlands this winter.
A Homeless Winter Scheme has been launched which aims at providing assistance and housing to people sleeping in one form or the other in the area.
The plan, headed by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and the Homelessness Taskforce, will bring together councils and agencies to try to get people off the streets for good.
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The cold winter months are of particular concern at this time for the homeless.
Aid workers will target people in areas where obese sleepers are known to live and help them get to a safer location.
Emergency accommodation will be provided on the coldest nights to ensure that no one is sleeping on the streets in icy, sub-zero temperatures.
This came to light when more than 20 homeless people died in Birmingham in 2020.
Rough sleepers will also be offered assistance with mental health or addiction problems to ensure they keep a roof over their heads and do not return to the streets.
They will be able to use free bus tickets to ensure they get accommodation, while members of the public are also encouraged to help by alerting authorities to rough sleepers arriving via the StreetLink website Will go
West Midlands Council said they have helped housing dozens of obese sleepers over the past 12 months and prevented hundreds more from ending up on the streets.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, who heads the WMCA, said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have continuously worked to reduce the number of people sleeping and ensure everyone in the West Midlands has a safe, secure and warm place to live. have seen. to live.
“However, we know it is important to ramp up our efforts in winter because the risks associated with poor sleep are increased in the colder months.
“The tireless efforts by our region’s local authorities and partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors mean we can continue to address the pressing issue of homelessness and help those who need it most. “
Area councils have supported the Winter Plan and pledged to do their bit to reduce homelessness.
Clare Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for vulnerable children and families at Birmingham City Council and chair of the WMCA Homelessness Taskforce Members’ Advisory Group, said: “Winter is always a difficult time for sleepers, especially because COVID is still in vogue .
“Birmingham’s Street Intervention team provides a unique multi-agency approach to addressing the issue of poor sleep and begging and the Council continues to work closely with other agencies to help protect those most in need “
Clerk Adrian Andrew, Deputy Leader of Walsall Council, said: “Our homeless teams in Walsall work hard using a multi-agency, individual approach to support obese sleepers throughout the year, especially during the colder months.
“I am proud to say that our flagship Housing First and Rough Sleeper Initiative program, where officials offer support on the streets of Walsall every day, means there are very few sleepers in the borough with 102 rough sleepers. The initiative has been successfully placed in tenancy since its inception.”
Clerk Zahoor Ahmed, Cabinet Member of the Sandwell Council for Housing, said: “We don’t want anyone to sleep without trouble and are supporting rough sleepers throughout 2021. We have placed 58 rough sleepers in long-term housing as part of the Housing First program, and We are currently supporting an additional 36 people through interim housing and outreach.
“During 2011, we have helped offer, advise and support 4,315 people as homeless or at risk of homelessness – including providing emergency housing to all obese sleepers reported to us. ,
Clar Bhupinder Gakhal, cabinet member of Wolverhampton Council for City Property and Housing, said: “No one in Wolverhampton has to sleep outside or go hungry, as demonstrated by our positive work during the Covid-19 pandemic , where we have seen the number. The sleepers were brought down to the single digits.”
Clerk Laura Taylor-Childs, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for housing and community services, said: “We fully support the region’s winter plan and those at risk of homelessness or who have nowhere to live, We will continue to do everything possible to help them. Our city.”
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