Gloucester City Council, alongside eight partners, have committed over £300,000 to continue funding the countywide rough sleepers outreach team and associated work.

Gloucester City Council has partnered with the five other district councils in the county, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, and Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, who have all contributed funding to enable vital work with some of our city and county’s most vulnerable individuals for at least two more years. The outreach team was previously funded by a central government grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government, which has now finished.

The partners have jointly funded and commissioned the team to find and assess people who are new to sleeping on the streets, or who are longer-term rough sleepers with complex needs, and to support them into accommodation and support as quickly as possible.

The total of £312,000 will mainly pay for the outreach team, as well as the part-time County Homelessness Coordinator and a budget for the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol which enables winter emergency accommodation in addition to normal pathway options.

The current contract with St Mungo’s charity ends on 31st December. Following a competitive tender process, the new contract, to start on 1st January without a break in service, will be delivered by P3, a charity which also runs homeless assessment centres, young people’s supported accommodation, and community-based support around the county. The funding group would like to thank St Mungo’s for having delivered an excellent service over the last 18 months; and now looks forward to working with P3 on this work.

Mark Simms, Chief Executive of P3, said: “We’re delighted to be able to run this new service in Gloucestershire. P3 is an organisation that started by running a number of homeless hostels; however we quickly realised that providing accommodation for people is only one solution to homelessness, and we also need to help people to access it and find sustainable accommodation that will keep them off the streets longer-term, allowing us to begin supporting them to re-build their lives. This new service aims to do exactly that.

Our approach is to not offer a one-size fits all service, but to see each client as an individual and work out a unique approach for them to overcome their own personal barriers. Our first and foremost priority is to ensure that current clients accessing services are informed and engaged with, making the transition as smooth and positive for them as we possibly can.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, said: “Homelessness is a problem in our county and one that we all begin to think about more as the nights get colder. But it is an exceedingly complex issue and needs to be understood and tackled from a variety of different directions.

“I welcome the multi-agency approach and am pleased that all the councils across the county are working together to find a compassionate solution”.

Cllr Colin Organ, cabinet member for housing at Gloucester City Council, said: “I am really pleased that we and our partners have come together to continue funding the countywide rough sleepers outreach team for the next two years.

“Homeless outreach isn’t a legal requirement, but across Gloucestershire it is clear that this work is both needed and effective in helping some very vulnerable people stay safe and begin their journey to get off the streets.”

Members of the public concerned about rough sleepers are encouraged to contact the outreach team by visiting www.streetlink.org.uk,  downloading the Streetlink app, or calling 0300 500 0914. This is an extremely quick and effective action that anyone can take to refer a street homeless person to the team, who will then quickly find, verify, and build relationships with each individual, to enable them to access appropriate accommodation, support, and healthcare, and to begin their journey into longer term sustained housing.

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

Countywide street homeless outreach contract awarded to P3 by Kate | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/