How to help rough sleepers

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News release: 05 February 2019

An information leaflet about how to help rough sleepers has been produced by St Albans City and District Council.

Rough sleeper leaflet
The guidance draws on the expertise and knowledge of Council officers and voluntary groups which are involved with the issue.

Headed, “Concerned about a rough sleeper?” it includes practical advice about what to do if you have seen a rough sleeper on the streets of St Albans.

In a concise question and answer format, the booklet also explains what is being done for rough sleepers by the Council and partner organisations.

These include the charities Open Door, Centre33 and Emmaus as well as Hightown Housing Association, the Cathedral and St Albans Community Mental Health Team.

Among other activities, the Council and Open Door fund outreach workers. They talk to rough sleepers to ensure they are aware of the help on offer and to encourage them to take it up.

The leaflet also highlights the extra beds that are made available in the City during severe weather.

However, for often complex reasons, some rough sleepers choose to remain on the streets.

Open Door also does not allow people to stay at its shelter if they are clearly under the influence of drink or illegal drugs.

Distributed to points around the District including libraries and other public buildings, the leaflet is also available online at bit.ly/2GqFJk8.

The Council carried out an annual count of rough sleepers in the District on one night in November last year and estimated 11 people were sleeping rough.

It is required to obtain this figure every year and submit it to the Government. Figures for previous years were: 2017 – 5; 2016 – 13; 2015 – 19; and 2014 – 11. 

Councillor Brian Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Inclusion, said: “The leaflet offers practical advice to people who are troubled by the sight of a rough sleeper and want to do something. 

“It tells them how they can refer someone for help and lists the contact details of a number of appropriate groups.

“I hope it will make people aware that the Council, together with other organisations, is working hard behind the scenes to help rough sleepers and put them on a new pathway.

“I would also urge people who want to help to consider volunteering to work with one of the charities that is active on this issue or make a regular donation.”

Useful web links: 

Councillor contact:
Cllr Brian Ellis, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Inclusion for St Albans City and District Council: 01582 767621; cllr.b.ellis@stalbans.gov.uk

Media contact:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council: 01727-296130; john.mcjannet@stalbans.gov.uk