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Rough sleeping in Havering on the rise as council unveils new strategy to tackle issue

PUBLISHED: 07:33 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 07:33 28 September 2020

A rough sleeper on the streets of Romford. Picture: Archant

A rough sleeper on the streets of Romford. Picture: Archant

Archant

The number of rough sleepers in Havering has nearly doubled in the space of a year, new figures have revealed.

According to the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain), there were 24 rough sleepers recorded in the borough between April and June this year - up from 13 in the same time period in 2019.

But that figure is down on the 27 recorded between January and March this year.

The numbers - part of a capital-wide year on year increase of 33% - were revealed just days after Havering Council announced its five-year plan to tackle homelessness.

The prevention of homelessness and rough sleeping strategy, running until 2025, sets out the council’s ambition to help vulnerable people and families.

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It aims to develop special outreach teams to build relationships with identified rough sleepers, especially those with complex mental health and substance misuse needs, and work alongside local partners and services to create safe environments to support vulnerable people.

Other initiatives include developing a homelessness charter with businesses and discouraging begging through alternative donation schemes.

As well as ending rough sleeping, the council aims to reduce the number of people living in temporary accommodation by utilising under-occupied social housing and developing training programmes for those going in to longer-term accommodation to help support their transition.

Councillor Joshua Chapman, cabinet member for housing, said: “Housing is not a privilege; it is a basic right and necessity for all of us. This strategy sets out our clear commitment to ensure that everyone in our borough who falls on hard times have options available to them and their families.

“Homelessness presents itself in many different ways, and the council cannot respond to this alone.

“The objectives we have set out call upon our community and our partners with experience of working with rough sleepers and homeless people, to work together across public, voluntary and community sectors to drive real change.

“Together, we will reduce overall levels of homelessness and aim to end long-term rough sleeping in Havering by 2022.”


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