21 February 2017

More help for people sleeping rough in South Yorkshire will be available from the summer thanks to a successful funding bid.

Sheffield City Council, working with the other councils in South Yorkshire, will receive an extra £400,000 spread across the four authorities over two years, starting from April.

The money will be used to recruit more people to work with those who have been on the streets for some time, or those at risk of sleeping rough, and to improve how services work together. The authorities also want to extend the housing advice and support currently available, so people can access this in a safe place in the evenings and over weekends. They hope to create this ‘sit-up’ service later this year which will allow a more flexible approach to offering advice and help.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Housing at Sheffield City Council, said: “Some people in the city are calling for a night shelter but we plan to use this extra funding to help get more people into supported housing schemes, help provide more tailored support and help people who are not yet on the streets but are at risk of sleeping rough. These are the things we know, and all the research and evidence tells us, will have the most impact in terms of helping people – and helping them for the long term.

“Night shelters provide a bed for the night but it’s not just a case of providing accommodation. We fund supported housing schemes because they offer somewhere to stay as well as wider support with issues around mental health and addictions.

“We will use this extra money to help more people, including those with very complex issues who have been on the street for some time. We already work very closely with local charities and partners but we know people move around, so will also use the funding to join up more closely with neighbouring areas.”

Sheffield City Council provides emergency accommodation for people in Crash Pads in the cold weather, as well as funding supported housing schemes.

Lisa Liddle, Project Lead at 911, part of South Yorkshire Housing Association, which provides 36 beds of supported accommodation, said: “Homelessness is not just about a lack housing, it often includes an number of complex issues.

“People who sleep rough are often at the extreme end of the scale of homelessness. The reasons for becoming homeless can be anything from addiction to a past trauma in that person’s life which has led them to that particular point. A home is only one step towards regaining control of their life, they also need emotional and practical support, as well as someone to understand their individual circumstances to progress further.

“At 911 we accept people for who they are at that time. We try to work with them to move forward and become who they want to be. Our customers are all at different stages of recovery and we have to be flexible and tolerant for each individual person. Some need a helping hand and a space to breathe, others aren’t ready for change and what they really need is time.

“We take people in, care for them, show them a bit of love and tolerance. They deserve a chance to live the life they would choose for themselves.

“I welcome the fact there will be more money to help people in South Yorkshire as we can offer them the opportunities to help get their lives back.”

Visit www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/rough-sleeping-providing-the-facts for information about help for homeless people in Sheffield and how you can help.