Support for rough sleepers as Sandwell marks World Homeless Day

Published 10th October 2019

Housing officers at Sandwell Council are working with a local Sikh charitable organisation to help the homeless.

In recent months, scores of homeless people have received help thanks to the partnership with Midland Langar Seva, a charity which helps people living on the streets or facing the possibility of homelessness.

Tackling rough sleeping has been a major focus of the Council particularly since the numbers of rough sleepers started to increase significantly from 2015, but it realised, at a time of severe Government austerity measures, that it could not work to prevent homelessness on its own.

Since January the Housing Solutions Team has worked with Midland Langar Seva, backed with a volunteer-led mobile bus which offers help to people living on the streets or facing homelessness.

The news of Sandwell’s work to fight rough sleeping and help more vulnerable people comes on World Homeless Day (Thursday 10 October).

The charity’s mobile service offers immediate advice for the most vulnerable and the chance to get information to help the homeless, rough sleepers and vulnerable people.

The service helps to prevent and reduce homelessness in Sandwell - specifically targeted in Smethwick and West Bromwich hotspots. It has made contact with about 170 people who were rough sleepers, homeless or in a vulnerable position.

The volunteers on the bus have engaged with almost 50 people known to be sleeping rough and a number have been supported into long-term accommodation. Others have been given advice and support. 

In the future the service will link into the Housing First pilot which is a new project aimed at people who are rough sleeping or at a severe risk of homelessness, to help place them into independent tenancies with enough support to help people to move in, set up a new home and develop skills to maintain their tenancy.

Councillor Joanne Hadley, cabinet member for homes, said: “Rough sleeping is not just about a lack of accommodation, but is often connected to a wider set of more complex needs and situations.

“Rough sleeping can have a major impact on both a person’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. 

“In these times of harsh cutbacks brought about by government austerity, we know that no single organisation can prevent homelessness alone.

“So we must be proactive in working together and our partnership with the Midland Langar Seva is a fine example of this proactive approach.”

People seeking support or those knowing someone who needs help should contact the Housing Solutions Team on 0121 368 1166 – option 2, and 0121 569 6883 out of office hours.

ENDS