Bassetlaw District Council is working to end rough sleeping and get people off the streets for good this winter as it launches an improved approach to severe weather emergency accommodation.
Local Authorities provide emergency, short-term shelter for rough sleepers when outdoor temperatures start to drop below freezing: this is called Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP).
In previous years, emergency accommodation has only been available on a night-by-night basis.
So that more rough sleepers can start to turn their lives around and get off the streets permanently this winter, the Council is taking a refreshed approach that will provide them with additional support with issues that may have led to them sleeping rough, in addition to short-term accommodation in Council-owned properties in Worksop and Retford.
A requirement of accepting these properties is that people must be prepared to work with the Council’s Housing Needs Team and be willing to undertake a full package of support from agencies such as the Street Outreach Team, drug and alcohol support charity Change Grow Live, and other health professionals. This also includes creating a Personalised Housing Plan (PHP) that will provide a pathway to permanently ending their rough sleeping.
Cllr Steve Scotthorne, Cabinet Member for Housing at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “We’ve seen an increase of rough sleepers on our streets this year, which is a worrying thought as we approach winter and a drop in temperatures overnight.
“Over the last 18 months, shared accommodation has not always been appropriate because of Covid-19 and the fact that is does not encourage entrenched rough sleepers to change their behaviours or lifestyle. There is no quick fix to the issues that rough sleepers face, but we hope this new approach will help those who genuinely want to turn their lives around and start a new future away from the streets.”
Rough sleepers who agree to this support package will be provided with a property for a short period of time, this will allow them to adjust to their new way of life and engage with support services. At an appropriate time, they will be supported into more settled, permanent accommodation.
However, Cllr Scotthorne also warned against residents trying to help rough sleepers directly, which may not be in the best interests of the individual or the rough sleeping situation in Bassetlaw.
He added: “Giving food, clothes and money directly to rough sleepers is not the best way to help and in some cases can do more harm than good. Residents may think that they are doing the right thing, but trying to help in this way only enables the rough sleeping cycle to continue and fails to encourage people to address problems such as committing crimes, violent and threatening behaviour, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health difficulties and poor health.”
Street Outreach Teams and other agencies are regularly on the streets, supporting rough sleepers and encouraging them to engage with our services. However, if you need support or know of anyone who is sleeping rough and needs to access to emergency accommodation, contact the Council’s Housing Needs Team on 01909 533 533, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, or 0800 590542 outside of normal working hours.
You can also make a homeless enquiry via the Council’s website at www.bassetlaw.gov.uk or you can contact the Framework Street Outreach Team on 0800 0665356 (24 hours a day, free from landlines and mobiles).
If you are a member of the public and would like to help, you can donate food parcels to Bassetlaw Food Bank either directly or via your local supermarket, or donate unwanted furniture and clothes to local charities.
There are also a number of organisations, agencies and charities working in Bassetlaw that can provide support and advice should you become homeless or are rough sleeping. All of this information can be found on our website at: www.bassetlaw.gov.uk in the Housing Services section.
Last Updated on Monday, December 20, 2021