Sefton Council has cautiously welcomed findings that the borough has ‘zero rough sleepers,’ as the authority again prepares to help those most in need during the oncoming cold winter months.
However, because the official figure provided to the Government has to be based on just a single night, the Council is highlighting details of where anyone who finds themselves sleeping rough or knows someone who is, can find help and support.
Every year Sefton Council, like all local authorities, is required by Central Government to conduct a snapshot count of how many people are rough sleeping without any accommodation in the Borough. The Government stipulates that count must be carried out on just one night between October 1st and November 30th.
This year is the first time in ten years the count has identified no rough sleepers in Sefton.
While this figure reflects the ongoing positive and determined work of Sefton Council’s Housing Support teams and its partners, the Authority says the issue of people sleeping out in the cold or struggling for accommodation has by no means gone away.
Earlier this month The Big Issue reported that the number of households facing eviction tripled in the three months after Covid protections to keep renters in their homes ended.
And there are fears that the impact of rising living costs and other issues such as the Government’s £20 per week cut in Universal Credit could see evictions rise in the coming months.
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “This Council has a long-standing commitment to helping people suffering from homelessness and supporting those rough sleepers who may find themselves in a vulnerable position, without a safe and warm place to call home.
“I am very proud of the work our teams do to help combat rough sleeping and these findings are testament to how dedicated we, along with our partners, are to combatting rough sleeping.
“Nobody wants to find themselves bedding down for the night on a cold pavement or stairwell and we are fully aware that with each new day, people may find themselves in need of support through absolutely no fault of their own.
“That is why we continue to urge the public to report an incident of rough sleeping in Sefton, by calling the Rough Sleeper Outreach Team via Light for Life on 01704 501256 or 07918 746042 outside normal office hours and weekends.’’
People can provide details of the location and any description of anyone they suspect is sleeping rough by emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans in Sefton (ViS) has also been commissioned to provide support to people who are currently serving or who have served in the Armed Forces. This covers regulars and reservists, their families and their dependents, who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
ViS is based at The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre in Bootle. For any further help and information from ViS people can call 0151 933 0800 or 07591 825204 out-of-hours assistance.