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Tackling rough sleeping in York

The number of people sleeping rough is increasing Photo: Press Association

Archbishop John Sentamu is backing York's plans to tackle rough sleeping.

The Archbishop recently chaired the Fairness Commission Report in York which identified six key recommendations, including the need to address the city's housing and accommodation needs to support growth and improve affordability. Of the ten key fairness principles underpinning these recommendations, the most relevant is to support and empower the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society.

Rough sleeping represents the most extreme form of housing need and can have a devastating long-term impact on a person's health and well-being. The services dedicated to the "No Second Night Out" initiative, will help agencies in York tackle this issue.

Rough sleeping is increasing nationally. In 2011, 2,181 people were recorded as sleeping rough on any one night in England. Rough sleeping in York is relatively low, but the city has still seen a slight increased over the past 12 months (from two a night to eight a night). It is important that services can identify rough sleepers, complete an assessment and respond quickly to help them into accommodation.

The aim of No Second Night Out is that:

  • New rough sleepers should be identified and helped off the streets immediately so that they do not fall into a dangerous rough sleeping lifestyle.
  • Members of the public should be able to play an active role by reporting and referring people sleeping rough.
  • Rough sleepers should be helped to access a place of safety where their needs can be quickly assessed and they can receive advice on their options.
  • Rough sleepers should be able to access emergency accommodation and other services, such as healthcare, if needed.
  • If people have come from another area or country and find themselves sleeping rough, the aim should be to reconnect them back to their local community unless there is a good reason why they cannot return. There, they will be able to access housing and recovery services and have support from family and friends.

Evidence shows that people from all walks of life can end up sleeping on the streets. Rough sleepers in the city need support and advice to make the best decision for their health, wellbeing and security. With reduced funding, we need to pool our resources with partner agencies and invite the public to play their part to ensure no-one must endure a second night out.

– Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing, City of York Council

We are delighted that Archbishop John Sentamu has agreed to launch this new initiative. It is important that we continue to work to reduce rough sleeping in York, even more so at a time of economic pressures and high demands for housing.

– Dave Knowles, Chair of the No Second Night Out Working Group