Work continues to support rough sleepers through the coronavirus crisis

May 26, 2020 - 11:10am

Work continues to support rough sleepers through the coronavirus crisis

Lancaster City Council and its partners continue to draw on each other’s expertise and commitment to making sure that those who were sleeping rough and have been accommodated are protected and supported through the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the start of the outbreak, 37 people have been housed in supported accommodation, bed and breakfasts and council housing.  The council is continuing to work with all accommodation providers to maintain the offer to prevent former rough sleepers from ending up back on the street.

Housing staff are in daily contact with every individual to carry out welfare checks and to support them with food deliveries, access to doctors and pharmacies and help to gain benefits.  The joint effort also makes sure that everyone can connect with the services they may need, including those specialising in drug and alcohol addiction and mental health.

The council’s homelessness outreach team continues to work alongside the police to patrol the area in an effort to identify any new rough sleepers, or those who may have chosen to go back on the streets, and ensure they get the help they need.

Councillor Dr Erica Lewis, leader of Lancaster City Council, said:  “Looking to the future, it is hoped that the strengthened working relationship that has been forged with other authorities and organisations during the outbreak will help to get people back on track and remain housed once the crisis passes instead of going back to square one on the street.

"The research is clear, keeping someone housed means dramatically better outcomes for that individual and significant savings in public expenditure. We would urge the government to adopt a holistic approach to addressing rough sleeping and to support the work we and our partners are doing."

Councillor Caroline Jackson, cabinet member with responsibility for housing and homelessness, said:  "The district's response to the current crisis has been built on collaboration and partnership working. This includes a fantastically diverse advisory group which includes people who have experienced homelessness.  The group is currently working to find the best ways forward to support ex homeless people into more permanent accommodation.

“The next online meeting of the council’s Housing and Homelessness Advisory Group will take place on Thursday, June 4 at 11am.  Anyone with a particular interest in homelessness who might like to get involved in discussions should contact me via email to cjackson@lancaster.gov.uk.”

Don’t forget, if you’re worried about someone who might be rough sleeping or back on the street or if you’re in danger of becoming homeless yourself, you can contact our housing service in the following ways:

•       Call 01524 582257 during office hours (9am – 5pm - Monday to Friday)
•       Out of office hours and weekends call 01524 67099
•       Email strategichousing@lancaster.gov.uk
•       Via StreetLink’s 24/7 phone line 0300 500 0914 or online at www.streetlink.org.uk