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How to end rough sleeping

How our community can end rough sleeping and ensure everyone has a home…I’d sleep better at night, would you?

Traditional outreach services spend a lot of time searching for people and providing extended In-reach services. This lengthens the time people spend sleeping rough, it currently takes over three days verify someone. Through mobilising the local community by creating ‘community assets’ that undertake to call a freephone number that is operated 24/7 we can create the flexibility to respond in time to prevent another night of vulnerability sleeping outside. Our community assets model will empower local people and transform the tensions caused by rough-sleeping related ASB into energised grass-roots action.

Housing estates with corner shops, small shopping parades and towns all have shops, barbers, hairdressers, chemists and café owners, and some care about seeing people sleep rough. Every town has street cleaners, refuse collectors, traffic wardens as well as community police officers who regularly walk the streets.

Airports are busy places that have all the retail, catering, security and cleaning services you find in a town and most communities have, not only a vibrant voluntary sector, there are people to be found with special passion and energy for helping. Everyone is a potential community asset, we ask them: Do you see people sleeping rough? Do you see the same people? Would you speak with them? Would you help them? Would you make a call to someone who can help?

We have the potential to create hundreds of community assets. In just two hours we spoke to 30 people at Heathrow Airport and 12 people enthusiastically agreed to become community assets. Alongside the active community and faith groups in Hillingdon we already have many well informed active assets that want to see an end to rough sleeping.

A first response to someone asking for help or being reported as sleeping rough should and can be made within two hours.

There is an outreach team who could work directly from Olympic House (a 33 bed home for people coming off the streets, including 5 emergency beds), we should be able to help someone off the street in three hours.