Street support for our homeless community

Mansfield Street Support

There has been a slight increase in the number of rough sleepers counted in Mansfield district during an annual snapshot survey.

As part of the national count that takes place on a single night once a year, 22 people were found to be rough sleeping in Mansfield district. This is up from 17 at the 2018 count and 15 in 2017.

The survey was carried out on 5 November 2019 by Framework's Street Outreach Team and other volunteers who visited more than 100 locations across the district.

Jill Finnesey, Head of Housing at Mansfield District Council, said: “The council's view is that one person sleeping rough is one too many. We have a wide range of initiatives to reduce homelessness and prevent it happening in the first place.

“Our Street Outreach team repeatedly offers all available help to everyone found to be rough sleeping so they have the opportunity to receive the support they need to make long-term changes to their lifestyles and move into suitable accommodation.

“Although the number appears to have gone up over the past two years, we know it is incredibly difficult to accurately assess the figure as it varies from night to night depending on factors such as individuals’ circumstances and the weather.”

Over the past year, Mansfield District Council has worked with Framework to help 14 rough sleepers access appropriate support and accommodation. The council has also helped to prevent hundreds of people from becoming homeless through early interventions. The council does not use Bed and Breakfast accommodation and instead uses its own supported temporary accommodation that provides bespoke support to help break the cycle of homelessness and provide ongoing support in their new home. We would urge anyone at risk of homelessness to contact the council as early as possible so our dedicated officers can provide advice and guidance.

The council has a Homeless Prevention Strategy, which sets out how the council will work with its partners to tackle poverty, increase access private rented homes, increase housing supply and reduce the impact of homelessness on the community. Workshops are being held in Mansfield secondary schools to educate young people on homelessness and leaving home at an early age.

The council, along with other Nottinghamshire districts, has received funds for a Rough Sleepers Initiative. This will provide a wraparound service to rough sleepers to address their multiple and complex needs. As a result, a Change Grow Live Substance misuse worker is based at Mansfield Community Safety Hub and the number of outreach/resettlement workers in Mansfield has increased to two.

The Framework street outreach team now has a full-time social worker for the most complex needs and, in partnership with the county council, a number of GP practices will provide wound clinics and health appointments.

The council has jointly secured external funds for the Rapid Rehousing Pathway. As a result, Mansfield will benefit from:

  • The ‘Call B4 U Serve’ scheme offering support to private landlords before they evict a tenant to prevent homelessness.
  • Social Lettings units will be provided in partnership with private landlords.
  • A Landlord Liaison Officer will be based in Mansfield to work with private landlords and provide confidence in renting to those with more complex needs.
  • An Engagement and Employability Support Worker will work with rough sleepers helping them to engage with relevant services to support them back in to employment and accommodation.  
  • 20 supported housing units will be provided in partnership with a social housing provider offering intensive support to rough sleepers with complex needs.
  • Six Homeless Navigators have been employed across the City and County and will be based in prisons as well as King’s Mill and Millbrook hospitals to avoid patients being discharged to the street without housing support.

Mansfield District Council goes above its statutory duty by providing a winter shelter for seven nights a week from 9 December to 31 March in partnership with Derby City Mission and local faith groups. The shelter operates on a referral basis and engagement with services is required of guests. A range of support services link to the shelter including mental health and substance abuse support from Change Grow Live (CGL), housing advice and Framework for identifying accommodation and employment support.

The Mansfield Street Support campaign continues to raise awareness of the wide range of local support services already available. It encourages people to volunteer their time, donate items and give money to existing charities and support groups to help the homeless in a co-ordinated way that best meets local need. Visit www.mansfieldstreetsupport.co.uk for further information.

If you see someone who is homeless, please contact the Framework Street Outreach 24-hour hotline on 0800 066 5356 or via www.streetlink.org.uk to ensure they are offered the necessary support.

Published: December 24th 2019