4 July 2017

Rough sleepers with the most complex problems are set to be helped with a new housing approach, funded by Sheffield City Council.

The Housing First service will see accommodation provided for rough sleepers who need it the most, with wrap-around support to help people tackle issues around addiction and mental health.

This is a different approach, successfully trialled in America and elsewhere in Europe, and is becoming increasingly common in the UK. The approach is based on research showing that people can make most progress once in a stable home, tackling issues from there, rather than in temporary accommodation or hostels. It will be used to help those people who services have not been able to help long-term up to now.

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety at Sheffield City Council, said: “We’re doing everything we can to end homelessness in Sheffield and help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We continue to pioneer new approaches in Sheffield to tackle the problems, as well as introducing approaches that have proven successful elsewhere. We’re working closely with local charities who are delivering new projects with us.”

The council is funding the Housing First service – costing £354,000 over three years – which is being delivered by the Cathedral Archer Project and Nomad Opening Doors. Homes will come from the private rented sector and ten people will be helped in tenancies at any one time.

This is in addition to more than 700 short term supported accommodation places that are funded for vulnerable people. The council also funds Sheffield’s Street Outreach Team which helps rough sleepers.

Tim Renshaw, Chief Executive of Cathedral Archer Project, said: “Housing First is about getting people into accommodation – a permanent, secure base, which gives them their own space. It’s then about helping them look at their own strengths and developing them, and helping someone build on their potential.

“A lot of issues around homelessness relate to instability and insecurity. Providing security is right at the heart of this approach. We’ll be working with people who have very complex needs and considerable personal barriers to overcome. One of our aims will be to take someone away from the situations they’re in, so that they can start to enjoy their life.”

Fran Ferris-Ockwell, Strategic Director at Nomad Opening Doors, added: “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with our colleagues at Cathedral Archer Project to pilot the Housing First approach in Sheffield.

“We believe that housing is a basic human right. We will help the people using the Housing First service to find somewhere they can feel safe, and somewhere they can call home.”

Sheffield City Council has also recently run a competitive grant process to tackle inequalities in the city. Successful applicants were Nomad Opening Doors, Emmaus and Assist.

Nomad – in a separate project to Housing First – will receive £37,700 a year for three years towards a pilot project, also funded by Tudor Trust, in which they will work with 270 people at a transition point in their life, including rough sleepers.

They will employ ‘Asset Coaches’ who will work with volunteers to help vulnerable people recognise and build on their own strengths, and encourage and mentor people to make the transition from homelessness to a stable life.

Emmaus will receive £15,000 a year for three years to help provide a safe home in the community for formerly homeless men and women in Sheffield. The charity works with some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in the city.

Assist Sheffield will receive £14,000 a year for three years. It is a voluntary organisation that offers food, shelter, solidarity and practical support to people in Sheffield who are homeless and destitute as a result of their seeking asylum in the UK.

Extra help for people during the evenings and weekends:

Sheffield City Council, working with the other councils in South Yorkshire, was awarded an extra £400,000 to help rough sleepers earlier this year – with money spread across the four authorities over two years.

Plans include using part of the fund to extend the housing advice and support currently available to people in the evenings and over weekends, for people who need support outside office hours. This will allow a more flexible approach to offering advice and help.

The aims of the fund will be discussed by Councillor Jayne Dunn at a Full Council meeting on Wednesday 5 July, when a petition for a night shelter will be debated – brought to the council by the organiser of the former ‘Sheffield Tent City’.

Councillor Jayne Dunn added: “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.”

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

Visit http://www.helpushelp.uk for information about how you can help.