LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND. Labre House outreach team speak to rough sleepers and homeless people in the Liverpool city centre on 7 November 2019. Picture: Jennifer Bruce/Liverpool City Council.

Rough sleeper services ready for winter

Outreach teams in Liverpool are encouraging people sleeping rough on the city’s streets to come inside this winter.

City council-funded workers are speaking to people on the streets, assessing their needs and offering support.

With temperatures falling to freezing, the teams are urging anyone on the streets to come inside and take advantage of the services available. This includes the use of the Labre House rough sleeper hub. 
Labre House, which was instigated by the Mayor of Liverpool, is open every day of the year and provides safety, warmth and food. It also acts as the first port of call to a range of services including medical help, financial advice and support with drug and alcohol issues.

Latest monthly figures for Labre House show that in October:

  • 268 people stayed for at least one night
  • The average number of people using the centre each night was 85
  • Outreach workers came into contact with 97 people sleeping rough in the city centre. An increase of three on previous month
  • The team encouraged 74 rough sleepers to come inside and accept help
  • Of these, 44 were supported into new accommodation or back to their accommodation
  • A further six were directed to Labre House. Others returned to their families or found their own solution.

The city council and its partners also organised a mini-count to determine how many people are sleeping rough in the city centre on a given night.

The team identified 24 people sleeping on the streets, with a further five people found sleeping in tents. Of the 24, six already had accommodation and are now being supported to return to it and a further seven have been encouraged indoors.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “As we enter the coldest time of the year, the council and its partners are making sure there is a place to stay for everyone who needs it.”

“If anyone needs help, it’s important that they know that they are not alone. We have a range of services to support anyone who may be facing homelessness and help around 6,000 families a year. People can get in touch before it reaches the stage where they have nowhere to stay.

“The council’s resources are more stretched than ever and we continue to look at the long-term solutions for people who are sleeping rough by finding them permanent accommodation. There is no need for anyone to sleep on the streets of Liverpool and there is always help available.”

David Carter, who is chief executive of The Whitechapel Centre, which co-ordinates the outreach teams, said: “Our services are working around the clock to ensure we find the right accommodation and support for every homeless person. The number of people using Labre House each night are high, as are the number of people sleeping rough, but we won’t give up.  Even if a person isn’t ready to come indoors, we will continue to offer help and support daily and try to find a different solution or approach that will work for them.”

Each year, Liverpool City Council invests £11m in supporting people who are at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping. This is despite having to find savings of £57.6m between now and April 2021.

The Rector of Liverpool, Canon Dr Crispin Pailing, who has been at the forefront of addressing rough sleeping in the city and instrumental in establishing the recent Homeless Business Charter, said, “We need to bring an end to rough sleeping in our city. Over the last few months we have been working with the voluntary, charitable and private sectors to look at how we can all support the local authorities in tackling homelessness. We all bear responsibility for the issue, from reporting rough sleeping when we see it, through to committing financial and practical support to help those who feel excluded from society.”

Anyone with concerns about someone facing homelessness or sleeping rough in Liverpool, call the Always Room Inside helpline: 0300 123 2041.

Watch our video about rough sleeper services in Liverpool here: https://vimeo.com/372630404