Published Tuesday 28 January 2020 at 13:09
Blackburn with Darwen Council has been successfully allocated a share of funding of more than £184,000 to support people who are homeless, living on the streets or begging.
The funding will cover a continuation of what is known as the ‘rough sleeper case navigator service’ – an outreach street team working with people living on the streets for 2020 to 2021.
This is a part of an innovative partnership led by Blackburn with Darwen Council and includes the rest of East Lancashire. This good news means there will be additional support for people sleeping rough in Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.
Councils can use the funding to employ specialist outreach workers to provide practical advice, support and accommodation. It also means face-to-face support for vulnerable people to help ensure they are meeting their rent payments, as well as helping them to find long-term stable accommodation.
In BwD there are currently 15 rough sleepers – a reduction of seven over the past 12 months – with ongoing work to try and further reduce this number.
The Council has been working closely with key partners including Police, health and housing colleagues and the Probation Service. The Council also works closely with homeless charities such as the Salvation Army, Nightsafe and THOMAS (Those on the Margins of a Society) to ensure that anybody sleeping rough is offered a warm place to stay.
Cllr Mustafa Desai, Executive member for Adult Services and Prevention, said:
We know that one person sleeping rough is one too many but unfortunately we can’t force people to not sleep on the streets. We know that the reasons are complex and different for each person, some people have been sleeping rough for years it takes courage to accept help.
It has taken a lot of work and coordinated effort but now we can say that no one needs to sleep rough in Blackburn and Darwen.
Some people may be resistant to accepting any help, we know this is for a variety of complex reasons. But the option is available for them to have a roof over their head if they wish, particularly in very cold weather but also at any time of the year.
Cllr Desai added:
We do remain dependent on further funding to ensure we can keep providing the right support and accommodation for our most vulnerable. We have an outstanding partnership, achieving great things, and we hope we will receive further funding to provide this support next year.
People don’t often know about or see the hard work of our dedicated case navigator team who are working out on the streets trying to make a real difference to lives, they take a lot on mentally and emotionally to support the most vulnerable people and deserve huge credit and thanks for the work they do.
We are always doing our best to ensure that no one is left out in the cold. If you are concerned about anyone you have seen sleeping rough you can contact Streetlink on 0300 500 0914. They send your report to our local outreach service and the person will be spoken to by an outreach worker to offer them support and accommodation.
You can find the full press release here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/boost-to-successful-government-rough-sleeping-programme