The chances are that you define homelessness as the number of rough sleepers you see on the street. The true picture is far more complex, because every year in Liverpool, the city council and partners prevent thousands of people from becoming homeless.
Homelessness is everyone’s issue and not something that can be tackled in isolation. We have adopted a partnership approach which has seen some great work from a host of organisations, volunteer groups and residents of the city. Our plan is to continue to work to do all we can to support rough sleepers in Liverpool off the streets and help them to turn their lives around.
The council’s commissioned outreach team is out on the streets every day and night making contact with people, assessing them and encouraging them in to services, but this can be a long process, often because of mental health or substance misuse issues which is a barrier to them being supported.
This is what Liverpool City Council does to prevent homelessness
The Housing Options Service support people to access a range of services including hostel accommodation and permanent accommodation such as social housing or helping them into a private tenancy. The number of contacts has risen by a third over the last year. The council also commissions support services to support people to maintain their housing or help them with other issues such as mental health.
Total spend: £3.2 million per year.
How much accommodation is available for single people and families?
The council has 713 units of temporary accommodation and short term housing for use by single households and 48 units for use by families.
Total spend: £6.6 million per year.
What the council does to reduce the number of rough sleepers
For people with complex needs and rough sleepers, there is a day hub provided by the Whitechapel Centre, and the council operates one of the few all-year round night shelters in the country — Labre House.
Together, they act as a gateway to a range of council and partner agency services, including health and wellbeing support, housing services, money and debt advice and drugs and alcohol misuse services.
In the past year, a total of 899 instances of rough sleeping were identified, while 317 people were brought inside 595 times.
Labre House accommodates an average of 75 people per night, and has prevented 1,286 people from ending up on the streets over the past year.
The latest figures show that the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Liverpool fell by more than half in 2018, compared to the previous year.
A total of 15 people were found to be sleeping on the streets in Liverpool City Centre on November 23, the night of the annual rough sleeper count, down from 33 — a drop of 53 percent.
Total spend: £1.5 million.
What is Liverpool City Council doing about begging?
Some of the people on the streets are collecting money and are not rough sleepers. Around 18–20 people are being supported at any one time to get them into services, establish welfare benefits and tackle underlying issues such as substance misuse which they use begging to fund.
Total spend: £114k a year.
This is what you can do to help
If you have concerns about someone sleeping rough in Liverpool, you can call the Always Room Inside helpline: 0300 123 2041.