Homeless project to ‘keep up good work’

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Rough sleeper in Liverpool city centre. Pic © JMU Journalism

A scheme to help homeless people off the streets and into stable accommodation has been given permission to operate for another year by its partners.

The Street Lifestyles Pilot (SLP) began in July 2018 as a collaboration between Liverpool City Council, Merseyside Police, rough sleeper support charity, The Whitechapel Centre, and drugs and alcohol service, AddAction.

Working with small groups of people who live ‘street lifestyles’, the team was set up to help into housing and support those who need help in tackling drug and alcohol addiction. The project specifically focused on those who are begging on the streets but who are not sleeping rough.

Last year, a council report with the SLP said that many who beg on the streets are not sleeping rough but may do so to fund an addiction or because of other vulnerabilities. A small number could also be exploited by others.

SLP worked with 39 people over the last 12 months, with 32 finding accommodation and remaining there. They claim rough sleeping has been reduced by 80%, begging by 60% and street drinking by 79%.

The SLP team was also supported by Liverpool Street Scene Ltd, who cleaned up city centre areas once people had accepted help offered to them, removing more than 3,700 syringes and 92 abandoned tents.

YouTube: Lawrence Kenwright

In Liverpool, the council spends more than £11m a year on tackling homelessness.

It launched its Always Room Inside campaign last year to ensure that no one has to sleep rough, and Labre House guarantees a bed every night as well as round the clock care.

Conrad Foote, Operations Manager for AddAction, said: “The Street Lifestyles Pilot has been a success for Liverpool in the last 12 months and we are so glad to see it continue.

“By working with small groups of people, it’s easier to build relationships with them and tailor support around their individual needs.”

“We are looking forward to working with everyone else involved in the scheme over the next year and will be trying new strategies and support work.”

If you have concerns about someone who is sleeping rough, you can call the helpline number: 0300 123 2041.

About Evelyn Edward, JMU Journalism