The first year of a scheme to ensure that people do not become entrenched as rough sleepers has been hailed as an outstanding success.
No Second Night Out was launched at the start of 2012 across all six local authorities in the Liverpool City Region to ensure no one sleeping rough has to spend more than one night out of doors
Since then 99.5% of people referred to support services via No Second Night Out have not spent a second night sleeping rough. There have been 866 people assessed.
The Liverpool city region was the first region outside London to adapt this standard.
“No Second Night Out is a simple idea,” said Councillor Ann O’Byrne, cabinet member for housing. “There may be many reasons why someone might sleep rough for one night, but less understandable that in Britain in this day and age, that someone sleeps out for a second night.
“I know from talking to people affected by homelessness how successful this scheme is. While it is primarily there for humanitarian purpose – we act to help people in the unfortunate, miserable and dangerous position of sleeping rough –it also makes economic sense. The costs are not just to the individual in terms of their physical and mental health but there are significant economic implications for policing , health services and environmental services caused by rough sleeping.
“That is why No Second Night out is so important.
“Tackling homelessness – and rough sleeping is only a part of that – is central to our housing strategy.”
As well as trying to ensure that people do not spend more than one night sleeping rough the strategy also aims to ensure that anyone who is threatened with homelessness is prevented from becoming so whenever possible. And anyone who is homeless today is supported into the appropriate accommodation tomorrow.
A number of initiatives are in place to meet these aims
• The Housing Options Service has been introduced with a greater focus on preventing homelessness. An average of 187 households a month are now prevented from becoming homeless
• Provision of a range of community support for families at risk of homelessness which can pick up issues at an early stage
• Working with Registered Social Landlords to raise the profile of homelessness and work with them to prevent any unnecessary evictions
• Provision of mediation services to ensure that young people at risk of homelessness due to family breakdown are supported to build and repair family relationships
• A wide range of temporary accommodation and short term supported housing is provided. The quality of temporary accommodation and hostel provision across the city has been improved
• The council is currently working in partnership with accommodation providers to develop an ‘access gateway’ to supported housing, temporary accommodation and hostels in Liverpool. This will simplify and improve access to services for single homeless people.
• The council attempts to minimise the length of stay in temporary accommodation by, among other issues, ensuring there a range of re-housing options.
“While we have made great strides in dealing with homelessness by enhancing existing services and joining things together this is an issue where there can be no complacency, ” said Councillor O’Byrne. ” We do not know exactly what impact the changes to the benefits system will have in the coming year, but we are in close contact with social landlords and support services so we can be as well prepared as possible.
“Whatever, the effect we will certainly do our best to ensure that nobody has to spend more than one night sleeping rough.”
• No Second Night Out has a dedicated phone line 0300 123 2041 and web address www.whitechapelcentre.co.uk/no-second-night-out.html so that anyone can call when they see someone sleeping rough. An outreach team who respond to calls and go out to identify people rough sleeping and offer help.