New service to offer support for homeless people across the county

Published on: Monday, 15th April 2019

Derbyshire County Council has approved funding for the development of a new service aimed at helping homeless people with a range of different issues.

£60,000 will be used to develop a Countywide Rough Sleeper Service across Derbyshire.

The number of rough sleepers in England is increasing. In autumn 2017, there were an estimated 4,751 people sleeping rough compared to 1,768 in 2010.  Statistics show that rough sleeper numbers have also significantly increased in Derbyshire rising from 13 in 2010 to 34 in 2017.

Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Carol Hart said: “Rough sleeping is on the increase at both a local and national level.  Although actual numbers within Derbyshire remain relatively low, any person having to spend a night rough sleeping is one too many.”

Levels of current support for homeless people varies across Derbyshire.  Chesterfield has an established winter night shelter however other areas do not have the same level of co-ordinated support.

It is envisaged that the new Countywide Rough Sleeper Service will offer long term, county wide support which will be provided by the voluntary and community sector (VCS).

The initial county council funding will enable volunteers to be recruited, trained and supported across Derbyshire.  In turn the volunteers will provide an outreach service that includes assessing and helping with people’s needs.  This may include support and signposting around mental health, alcohol, drugs and physical health.

Councillor Hart added: “Many homeless people have high levels of complex needs, including mental health problems and drug and alcohol dependencies. The longer someone sleeps rough, the greater the risk that physical and mental health problems will worsen.

“Rough sleepers also face particular health issues associated with homelessness and challenges in being able to access health services.”

The £60,000 funding, from Derbyshire County Council’s Public Health budget, will be allocated to Derbyshire Dales District Council, who will host the money on behalf of the Derbyshire Homelessness Officers Group.

It is anticipated that the service will take two years to become fully established.  The programme will start in the localities of highest need, and roll out to other areas.

From year three, it is expected that the VCS will lead on the rough sleeper outreach provision in Derbyshire.

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