Councillor Ross McWilliams, lead member for housing, sports and leisure, and community engagement, welcomes the news that the number of verified rough sleepers in the borough is currently zero, compared to 40 at the end of 2019.
He said: “This is terrific news and reflects the sterling joint working by the council and our partners to support vulnerable people off the streets and into stable accommodation, alongside important preventative work to reduce the risk of people rough-sleeping in the first place.
“We could not have achieved this huge progress without the ongoing support and close cooperation of all our partner organisations, including the NHS, local charities and Thames Valley Police, who are all signed up to working together to deliver the borough-wide Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy.
“While the current figure is a snapshot of verified rough sleepers, and the figures will continue to fluctuate, especially in these uncertain times, the significant reduction since 2019 highlights the fantastic strides we’ve made as a borough since the start of the pandemic to help our most vulnerable residents on a life-changing journey into stable accommodation.
“To support people in making a lasting transition into supported accommodation and then independent living, we have in place a clear three-step pathway underpinned by our core values of compassion, thoroughness and cooperation.
"All individuals who join the council’s rough-sleeping pathway sign up to an agreement, which includes not engaging in street activities, such as begging. This approach is supported by the council’s Alternative giving scheme, Tap 4 Lasting Change, and is monitored by the Rough Sleeping Pathway Team.
“Where residents are concerned that someone might be rough sleeping in the Royal Borough, they can let us know by completing a StreetLink referral which will help link individuals with services and support.
“We appreciate that the reasons people end up rough-sleeping are individual and often complex, and therefore we work with partners, including in the voluntary and charitable sector, to identify individual needs and provide tailored support in the most appropriate way.”
If you are concerned about losing your home and would like some advice, you can complete a self-referral to the Housing Options Team online at: https://rbwm.housingjigsaw.co.uk/accounts/account/register