Action To Tackle Homelessness

07/01/2019

Measures Guildford Borough Council is taking to tackle homelessness in our town.

Unfortunately we are seeing an increase in the number of people on the streets. Behind each face you see is a complex story and there is no simple answer for the problems individuals face. Understandably residents and retailers approach the Council asking what we are doing to help.
Please read and get in touch by the following links to help.
Guildford Borough Council provides a range of interventions and support services but the challenges some of those on the street extend beyond simply a roof over their head.
Q: What help is available to Rough Sleepers?
- Guildford has a wide range of services to help rough sleepers and people at risk of homelessness including
- a rough sleeper assertive outreach and support service
- a day service
- night shelter
- a number of hostel and supported housing projects
- move-on accommodation
Q: A rough sleeper says they have not been offered any help.
- Our HOST (outreach) team usually responds to reports of rough sleepers within 24 working hours of receiving the information. Occasionally it may take a little longer to find someone, particularly in rural locations
- Not everyone wishes to take up our offer of help. When this happens the offer of assistance remains and HOST aim to keep the lines of communication open.
Q: A rough sleeper has been seen in the town for several months, why isn't anyone helping?
- If you have seen the same person over a period of time rest assured that we have seen them too and HOST will have offered support to help them move away from life on the streets.
- Sometimes people refuse offers of help. Homelessness is a complex issue and there are many reasons why someone may reject assistance and choose to remain on the streets.
- When this happens HOST and the other agencies in Guildford who work with rough sleepers don't give up.
Q: What about Rough Sleepers with dogs?
- On the rare occasions contact is made with a rough sleeper with a dog our approach is to work proactively to find a mutually acceptable way forward.
- During times of severe weather we are able to offer rough sleepers emergency accommodation for themselves and we will fund a placement for their dog in a local kennel. Where possible we would use a kennel within walking distance of the town centre so their dog is given appropriate care and clients can have daily access to them.
- In 2006 the Dogs Trust produced an excellent guide called "Welcoming Dogs" an information booklet for homelessness projects about accepting clients with dogs. This booklet was widely circulated to the hostels in Guildford and the decision on whether to operate a pet friendly policy rests with individual accommodation providers.
Q: What about Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) for rough sleepers?
- SWEP operates when the specific weather criteria is triggered and closes when conditions improve. We work in partnership with local providers of accommodation and other agencies to make sure adequate additional provision is available.
- SWEP in Guildford is co-ordinated by the HOST who gather intelligence and respond to reports of people known or suspected to be rough sleepers, track down each person, offer emergency accommodation and arrange placements.
- SWEP accommodation is accessible to anyone, including people not normally eligible for services.
Q: Seen someone begging, what can I do?
The police are responsible for dealing with begging. More information can be found here:
https://www.surrey.police.uk/Keeping-Safe/Protecting-you-and-your-family/Anti-social-behaviour
We encourage people to report concerns about begging to the police by:
- Telephoning 101 (police number for reporting non-emergency matters)
or
- Online via this link - https://surrey.police.uk/contact-us
- It is important to acknowledge that people seen begging in Guildford town centre may not be homeless or even live in Guildford. People beg for a variety of reasons including alcohol and substance misuse addictions.
It is for this reason that we suggest that people avoid giving money to anyone who begs. If people would like to help they can donate money, time or items to one of the many local charities and housing associations who exist to help these individuals. These include:
- Number Five Nightshelter
https://numberfiveproject.co.uk/
- Homeless Outreach and Support Team
https://www.churchhousingtrust.org.uk/campaigns/host-campaign
- Guildford Action Day Service
https://www.surreycommunity.info/guildfordaction/
Q: I'm concerned about a rough sleeper, what can I do?
We encourage people to report any concerns they may have about rough sleepers. If you see a person you believe may be rough sleeping you can report in two ways:
- Contact the Homeless Outreach and Support Team (HOST) team directly
GuildfordHost@riverside.org.uk
Tel: 01483 302495
- Report via Streetlink, the national rough sleeper reporting line:
www.streetlink.org.uk (you can also download an app)
Tel 0300 500 0914
If the person needs urgent medical attention please dial 999 for an ambulance. - in Guildford.