Councils come together to unveil the West Midlands Winter Plan for rough sleepers

Local authorities across the West Midlands are working together with partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors in the 'West Midlands Homelessness Taskforce'.

This winter, each council will use their own plans and expertise to help rough sleepers. Specifically, rough sleeper outreach teams in Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton will work to rapidly respond to locate people known to be sleeping rough and support them to access a place of safety. 

The aspiration is that everyone who is sleeping rough in the West Midlands Combined Authority area will be able to access severe weather provision. This includes people whose needs are complex, pet owners, couples, those who have no recourse to public funds, people who may have previously been banned from support services and those with no local connection. 

People in the West Midlands will be able to alert local authorities to rough sleepers in their area by contacting StreetLink who will connect them to local support services. In addition, a co-ordinated regional response will be working to ensure individuals are matched to the appropriate services and support to move them away from sleeping on the streets for good. Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“As winter draws in, it is vital we make the right preparations to help rough sleepers get the support they need. Local authorities in the West Midlands have come together with charities and businesses to agree this Winter Plan for Rough Sleepers, with its commitments to severe weather provision, Housing First, Change into Action and other support. 

“There are many dedicated people who work incredibly hard for local authorities and charities throughout the year to help vulnerable people. Over the next few months we will all need to work even harder to support them.” 

Work has already begun to match the first people with homes for the regional Housing First pilot, which has secured £9.6M from Government and is being led by Birmingham City Council. This is a project to support entrenched rough sleepers with the most complex needs to access accommodation alongside intensive support to enable them to recover from issues such as mental ill health or substance abuse and to sustain their tenancies. Councillor Gaye Partridge, Cabinet Member for Housing at Dudley Council, added:

“No one should have to sleep rough and this is something we take very seriously in Dudley. We believe there is no reason for anyone to spend a night on the streets at any time but as we approach the winter, it focuses our minds on the issue. 

“We are pleased to work closely with partner agencies and neighbouring authorities and would encourage people to report anyone they believe to be sleeping rough in our borough to Streetlink or Dudley Council Plus on 0300 555 2345 so we can provide help and support.” 


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