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A further 35 people, already sleeping rough on the city’s streets, were encouraged to come indoors during the month.
The latest figures released by the council’s Outreach Service, show that during March they dealt with 159 new people who were either at risk of becoming homeless or had already spent a night on the streets. Of these, 146 people accepted immediate help that spared them from spending a single night on the street.
Liverpool City Council and its partners have pledged to do all they can to combat rough sleeping in the city as part of the Always Room Inside project. The project offers shelter along with access to services and support to anyone who needs it.
The council works with Liverpool-based homeless charity The Whitechapel Centre to provide services to support the city’s most vulnerable people. This includes everything from emergency overnight shelter through to long-term help to get people back on their feet.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson launched Always Room Inside to ensure that no one needs to sleep rough on the city’s streets. The mayor opened Labre House on Camden Street as a temporary winter night shelter last November. It had an immediate effect in reducing the number of people sleeping on the streets.
The centre offers anyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, a place to sleep for the night, access to telephone and internet services as well as an introduction to other council services that may be able to help them.
During the cold weather, Labre House accommodated up to 70 people per night. Since it opened, the council has doubled the capacity of the shelter and is currently seeking permission for it to become a year-round facility.
In March, workers made contact with 60 people who were sleeping rough and encouraged 35 of them to come indoors to take advantage of the services available for them. This is a similar figure to February, when 27 rough sleepers were encouraged to come indoors. Solutions for rough sleepers included returning to family and friends, hostel accommodation and Labre House.
Throughout the year the city has seen an average of 25 people per month who continue to sleep rough, despite alternatives being available.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan, said work was continuing to make sure all rough sleepers were aware that help was on hand.
“Each year the council and its partners work proactively to prevent more than 7,000 people from becoming homeless in our city,” said Cllr Hinnigan. “Despite this some people slip through the net and find themselves on the streets. Our Outreach teams are working with rough sleepers to assess their needs and to encourage them to seek help and come inside.”
The council’s future plans include the possible creation of a purpose-built ‘street lifestyle hub’ which would provide accommodation, support services, training and even employment opportunities.
The council’s Mayoral Lead for Asylum and Rough Sleeping, Frank Hont added: “We want to break the cycle of rough sleeping by giving people a route off the streets and support with the issues they are facing. We cannot force people to come off the streets but we do offer rough sleepers every opportunity to access Labre House and take advantage of the services we offer.”
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