Dramatic fall in rough sleeping

Following extensive work by council homelessness teams and the city’s social welfare partners the number of people sleeping rough in the York has reduced during 2018 from 29 to nine.

In 2017, the official number was 29, in 2016 and 2015 it was 18.

This year’s count was conducted on the night and early morning hours of 21/22 November following several weeks of assessment and review of rough sleepers known to city agencies. That night, all known locations where people sleep out and others reported to Streetlink were visited by officers from the Salvation Army and North Yorkshire Police.

The final figure of nine was verified independently by Homeless Link.                              

To support more rough sleepers off the streets, the council and charity Changing Lives have opened 11 extra emergency beds ahead of the winter months this year, giving the city a total of 29. Additionally a new early help and prevention hub was opened by The Salvation Army in the summer at 63 Lawrence Street where any single person without a bed for the night should visit between 10am-midday.

To help address the complex reasons underlying rough sleeping, the council has secured £193,000 for 2018/19 to provide a more targeted and innovative approach to helping individuals move towards more stable lives, including additional support for those with mental health issues.

Cllr Jenny Brooks, executive member for housing and safer neighbourhoods, said: “It is very welcome news to know that 20 fewer people are sleeping rough in York and we are committed to continue our work to help more off the street. Our homelessness team work tirelessly to identify individuals in crisis and to provide them with help and care.”

“While we recognise that the number can fluctuate throughout the year, this reduction shows the strength and commitment of partnerships in York and the impact of ongoing innovative work with this complex group of people.”