Liverpool people are being asked to use a helpline which will see those sleeping on the streets receive help.
The No Second Night Out initiative says that while there may be many reasons why somebody sleeps rough for one night there is no reason why they need to spend a second night on the streets.
By ringing 0300 123 2041 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org outreach workers from the Whitechapel Centre will provide a rapid response to try and ensure no new rough sleeper spends more than a single night on the streets.
Since No Second Night Out started in 2012, hundreds of people have been helped after people contacted the service, in the first six months of this year 160 calls were made to it.
Councillor Frank Hont, cabinet member for housing said: “We know there is a lot of concern about homelessness especially about rough sleeping as winter approaches and people are keen to help.
“One of the best ways they can do so is by phoning No Second Night Out when they see someone sleeping rough and every effort will be made to support people to come off the streets.
“We want to prevent the situation where rough sleeping becomes an entrenched way of life and the sooner people can be encouraged to come off the streets the better it is for them.
“There is a misconception among some people that those who are sleeping rough are doing so because there is nowhere for them to go. In fact we fund 750 temporary accommodation places and the outreach workers have been successful in persuading many to come off the streets- up to 27 in one calendar month this year.
“Not everybody will accept the offer of help and support but we are doing our best to try and see no one ever needs to sleep for a second night on the streets and we are asking the public to play their part by contacting No Second Night Out when they see somebody sleeping rough.”
David Carter, Chief Executive of the Whitechapel Centre, said: “Sleeping on the streets is dangerous and can be life-threatening, particularly as the winter approaches and the weather turns colder.
“We would encourage people to save the number into their phone and give us a call, anytime, when they see someone sleeping rough in Liverpool.
“Everyone’s situation is different and we work with each person to offer the best support and appropriate accommodation available to them. For most people coming indoors into accommodation happens on the day they become homeless, but for some people it can take time – time to find the right solution that the person feels able to accept.
“We don’t give up on people until we have helped someone come indoors. Our outreach team is out every day and calls to No Second Night Out help us find people quickly, before they become entrenched on the streets. We can only do this with the help of the public and we really appreciate their calls.”
Case studies of people helped by No Second Night Out
Tom (Names changed for anonymity):
On 18 December 2015 Anne phoned the NSNO telephone to report a gentleman sleeping rough behind Liverpool Lime Street.
Whitechapel responded to the call, organising for the Outreach Team to go out immediately to find the man. The Team found Tom, a 46 year old man who had newly arrived on the streets.
Initially Tom refused to engage with the Outreach Team – he wouldn’t even divulge his name.
At that point he was rough sleeping behind the station, drinking two litres of sherry per day and using heroin. He had some health problems and was not in receipt of benefits. He refused all offers of help.
The Outreach Team would not give up on Tom. Over the next three months the Team went out every day to find Tom – an attempt to get alongside him, build his confidence and trust in us. Gradually Tom began to build up a relationship with our workers as they were seeing him on a daily basis, and eventually he agreed to think about coming indoors and complete an assessment.
The Outreach Team made 67 contacts with Tom over that three months period, before he finally agreed to come indoors into the supported accommodation we had secured for him.
Since then we have supported him through detox and rehab.
Tom is now substance free, and has been supported into his own home. His health has considerably improved now that he has stopped street drinking.
It was a cold Friday in January and temperatures had dipped below zero, necessitating the opening of the Cold Weather Shelter. The Outreach Team had been out on the streets throughout the day making sure everyone knew the shelter was open, where to go, and supporting people to get there.
At 12am we received a call about a man looking distressed on Old Hall Street. The Outreach Team went out to the site and found Paul, a man we had been trying to get indoors for some considerable time.
Paul has been battling alcohol addiction for a number of years. The pull of addiction had prevented him from taking up our solutions so far. When we met him on this particular morning he was at breaking point as he could see no light at the end of the tunnel. He had given up hope of getting his life back on track. Our Outreach Workers sat with him on the street, listening to him and providing support.
Finally he agreed to come with us indoors. While horrible to see someone at breaking point, the Outreach Workers were relieved he had finally agreed to come indoors.
As he was getting up a passer-by saw Paul. Feeling sorry for him, the passer-by reached into his wallet and gave Paul £20. Instantly Paul had options. The pull of addiction meant Paul didn’t come with us on this day.
Paul continued to sleep rough for a number of months, before finally agreeing to access rehab. He completed rehab treatment and is now in recovery. Paul’s health has improved and he has secured employment. These days he cycles to his place of work every day
Father and son
A call was made to the No Second Night Out Service on the morning of 15 September 2016 from a concerned dog walker who had seen two men sitting on a bench in Stanley Park and around them was evidence that they were rough sleeping there.
Our No Second Night Out (NSNO) Service arranged for an immediate response from our Outreach Team. The Team went to the park and found the men – who are father and son. Our Outreach Team drove them back to the Whitechapel Centre to be assessed. The two men had had a social housing tenancy, but became homeless when they were evicted for rent arrears, which accrued when Housing Benefit stopped being paid. Father and son failed to seek help or advice about their rent arrears so landlord had no option but to evict. The issue was exacerbated due to the son’s alcohol problems.
They stayed with friends when they first became homeless but had been rough sleeping for a couple of weeks, as friends could no longer accommodate them. NSNO was contacted. Both men accepted places in the sit up within hours of assessment, pending an offer of accommodation.
The father, a pensioner, was found intentionally homeless by the local council, so was rehoused to hostel accommodation. His support worker is trying to identify suitable sheltered accommodation for him. The son was also placed in supported housing and hopes to be housed via the Council Property Pool Plus when ready to manage his own tenancy. Both continue to remain in accommodation whilst longer term solutions are found.
NSNO received a call from a The Brain Charity reporting a woman asleep outside the front of the building in City Centre. Our Outreach Team went out immediately and found a female sitting up against the window. She had cut her wrists and was trying to cover them with her coat. Our staff worked with the woman to encourage her to accept medical assistance. An ambulance was called, and she was taken to A&E.
During time spent in hospital our staff stayed with the woman. We were able to refer into Crisis Team for a mental health assessment and support with anxiety. Staying with her at the hospital ensured the woman did not leave before treatment could be provided. Also, we worked with her and the hospital staff to find the best accommodation solution.
Supported accommodation was found quickly. The woman was accompanied into accommodation – this means she has been accommodated direct from the street, has ongoing mental health intervention from CMHT, and she is now settled, feeling less anxious and is not experiencing social isolation.
Man sleeping in the Mystery
NSNO received a call from a dog walker who was out with his dog in The Mystery (Wavertree Playground) The caller had seen a rough sleeper and was very concerned.
Via our NSNO service we were able to send out our Outreach Team to the site.
The Outreach Team identify the sleeping site and found a man. The man was in a critical condition – cold, wet and had numerous wounds to his head the wounds were attributed to him having no control over his head movements and we had to hold his head to prevent him hitting his head against a metal bench. The Team called an ambulance immediately and he accessed A&E.
Once in the Royal Liverpool Hospital we were able to offer continued support. We helped to find accommodation (ready for discharge) and facilitated Social Services involvement – for help with personal care. When ready for discharge, we had secured suitable accommodation with a care package from Social Services, ensuring he did not return to the street.
The man remains settled in his new home.
Anthony is 21. He has always lived with his mum in the family home but they had a relationship break down and so for three weeks Anthony was sofa surfing with different friends until on 14 July 2016 he had nowhere else to stay and only option was to rough sleep.
Antony went to YMCA Leeds Street at 8pm at night to ask if they had a bed. A hostel worker assessed Anthony and because they had no available beds for him, the hostel worker rang tNo Second Night Out at 9.30pm. This call was taken by an outreach worker who agreed to place Anthony in the Sit Up pending an offer of accommodation. A taxi was arranged to take him from YMCA straight to the sit up where he was met by the Sit Up worker and made comfortable in the Sit Up.
Within days of moving into the sit up Anthony was offered employment and so suitable shared accommodation was identified within the private sector for Anthony, via the Whitechapel Bond Scheme. Anthony moved into a shared house with other young working people; Whitechapel Centre paid his first month’s rent in advance as Anthony was being paid a month in arrears. Anthony remains in his shared accommodation and receives weekly support from his Whitechapel Worker and is still employed as an Administrative Worker.