Rough sleeping should be prevented whenever possible, it must be a rare occurrence, be brief and non-recurring. That is the government’s pledge which BCP Council is fully committed to achieving and is joining a number of other areas across England in leading the way in tackling homelessness across the country.
The government’s new shared vision and strategy will include a clear set of measures to help leading local authorities working with the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI) to track progress, shedding a light on successes in homelessness prevention and areas for improvement whilst improving how data is collected. This will align with the council’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping strategy.
The announcement follows government’s Annual Rough Sleeping count figures for autumn 2021 which shows numbers have fallen to an eight-year low and have almost halved since 2017. BCP Council’s rough sleeping count for 2021 was, 29, compared with 25 in 2020 and 72 in 2019.
Councillor Hazel Allen, Portfolio Lead Member for Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, said:
“We are delighted that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole has been selected as an early adopter of the government’s new strategy in homelessness prevention. It is recognition of the hard work and commitment of the council and our partners in working to reduce homelessness across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. This new approach will provide a clear means of tracking progress.
"The current annual street count is a useful measure, but only provides a snapshot in time and we need to be able to look at a wider set of data to understand experiences of rough sleeping. We must improve and adapt our services accordingly in order to prevent rough sleeping in the first case and ensure that if someone does end up on the streets it is very brief, and they do not have to sleep rough again.”
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is one of five areas that have been selected as early adopters and pioneers of testing a new approach and delivering the new vision working with government and the Centre for Homelessness Impact (CHI). The other areas are, London, Manchester, West Midlands, and Newcastle.