Salford City Council’s rough sleepers team has helped 63 rough sleepers off the streets and into their own homes in its first year.
Six outreach workers, covering the whole city, are on the streets every day looking out for people and responding to reports of people sleeping rough.
Their work complements the A Bed Every Night scheme which is helping an average of 115 people a night – and it’s all about not just putting a roof over people’s heads but helping them to get the long-term support they need to rebuild their lives.
City Mayor Paul Dennett said he was speaking out on World Homeless Day to reassure people that there is help and support available to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Salford – and dedicated staff to work with them.
“Some of the rough sleepers our teams have helped wouldn’t even speak to our staff when we first approached them. Others insisted they were fine sleeping rough and refused any help at all while some were only too glad to get off the streets that very evening.
“No matter how long it takes our teams won’t give up and they continue working with people until they are ready to take up the help on offer. We have 30 flats we can put people into, a number of shared houses across Greater Manchester, eight emergency beds and we will use bed and breakfast accommodation and hotels that will take dogs if we need to.
“It’s not just a question of putting them under a roof and expecting them to cope, though. Our support workers will refer them to any health care they need and will even go with them to appointments if need be. We will help them anyway we can – from furniture to finances, from identity documents to helping them find education and training.
“The houses and flats are all in addition to the 30 beds at the Narrowgate night shelter which is open all day with a communal area for residents to use – and the same support is available to anyone using the Narrowgate. We’ve even moved a group of people from the shelter into a shared house after they became friends while staying there.”
Councillor Tracy Kelly, lead member for housing, said: “What makes Salford unique is that all our housing workers pull together as a team who work tirelessly to support and signpost people with housing issues who come to Salford Housing Options Point (SHOP) on Wesley Street or any of the drop ins arranged by some of our partners.
“We also have great support from a range of housing associations and local charities. If someone comes to us for help we will work to break down any barriers to finding them accommodation and the support they need to prevent them sleeping rough. I’d urge anyone to contact us if they need help.”