Team to tackle rough sleeping in Plymouth to be set up

A new team is being set up to tackle rough sleeping in Plymouth.

A multi-agency rough sleeper team is being created as part of a concerted effort to help people sleeping rough off the streets and into more permanent, settled lifestyles.

Plymouth City Council together with Shekinah, the Salvation Army, Plymouth Access to Housing, BCHA and Westward Housing Group submitted the bid and have been awarded £363,000 by the Government as part of a major push. 

Cabinet Member for Housing and Cooperative Development, Councillor Chris Penberthy said:  “People end up living rough for many reasons. They could have lost their homes or jobs, had relationship breakdowns or health issues. Some do not fit the criteria to be rehoused and are just caught in limbo.

“This project will involve staff going out, encouraging people into temporary emergency accommodation and to offer more support – via a case worker – so that they can get help to move away from lifestyles that keep them on the street.”

As well as the outreach support, the Council will be working with partners to make more accommodation available. There are currently 27 people sleeping rough in the city and the team will be committed to working with those individuals on a more tailored basis to encourage progress from the sleeping rough towards independent living in the community.

Mike Taylor of Plymouth Access to Housing said: “We know a more tailored approach has the potential to transform people’s lives. In the recent bad weather a gentleman who had been living in the woods for a long time came in to emergency accommodation when the weather was particularly harsh. This meant we were able to engage with him more, to start talking to him about his situation and to help

The funding will also enable the council to expand its severe weather emergency protocol – providing emergency accommodation for longer.

Other aspects of the project include expanding the Housing First pilot plan with Plymouth Community Homes, where the people are given support through their tenancy so that they become more settled and better able to live independently in their own homes.