The partnership working across many agencies and voluntary sectors during the
pandemic deserves great praise with many striving tirelessly to reduce
homelessness and rough sleeping in our area. This is an incredibly difficult
challenge, but we are really starting to get things right. Our ambition remains to end
homelessness, and this is outlined in the recently published BCP Council’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy.
We have been very successful in securing good government funding to tackle and
prevent homelessness and rough sleeping across BCP in the past 12-18 months.
These funds are allocated for planned initiatives, to pay for ongoing accommodation
costs, secure move on accommodation and for crucial roles to deliver the wrap
around holistic support and care required to help individuals make the step away
from homelessness permanent. A lot of funding pays for support / key workers and
many other professional roles to meet all the needs of the individuals we are working
All that hard work is reaping rewards with national government figures showing that
the rough sleeping count has come down by 5% in the BCP area. In November
2020, across the conurbation there were 25 individuals sleeping rough compared to
72 in November 2019. This included enabling a number of entrenched rough
sleepers to finally accept help and move away from the streets.
Locally the situation with those in temporary accommodation and rough sleeping
continues to improve. The latest BCP street count carried out by St Mungo’s in May
showed 21 rough sleepers (11 of which had ‘returned to the streets’, 7 had no local
connection and 5 were long term rough sleepers – there was a slight increase in the
Poole number (coinciding with some “regulars” who come to Poole each summer).
With lockdown easing we do anticipate an increase, but we will monitor this.
Approximately 12 people a day are requesting temporary accommodation. These are
mostly single people. Eligibility criteria for Emergency Accommodation has not
changed since lockdown and the ‘Everyone in,’ initiative. If a person is verified as a
rough sleeper by the St Mungo’s Team and they have a local connection, they will be
If they are from out of area, the Council will try to reconnect them to their area. There
has been no change to the criteria for rough sleepers without a local connection. We
do not offer temporary accommodation, but discretionary overnight accommodation
may be offered but only if the individual had a reconnection in another area and can
be helped to return there.
Some rough sleepers still decline the offer of support and are difficult to engage for
various reasons. They are often complex cases.
175 individuals are now being housed in hotels (reducing). There were approx 12
move-on’s from temporary accommodation each week with the majority being
successful. The main challenge we are facing at present is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to access the private sector rental market, this is an issue across
the South West. There has been a reduction in the availability of rented
accommodation for a number of reasons. One key challenges is that a lack of
availability had led to an increase in rental rates creating an affordability issue.
With regards to the BCP housing team, there is an increase in demand for all types
of accommodation, as well as an increase in homelessness applications, and twice
the number of household requests for accommodation due to family breakdown,
domestic abuse, end of rental contracts. However, 1051 households have had
There are a lot of exciting initiatives coming forward, particularly around homeless
healthcare with plans for a BCP health and housing hub in Bournemouth. The hub
(with outreach across the conurbation) which we are planning at St Stephens Church
Hall is part of the overall approach to make the most of the resources we have and
to build on the joint collaborative multi agency and disciplinary working which was
developed during the pandemic. This is a BCP initiative that we have decided to
invest in and is part of our recently updated strategy.
The hub can offer access to a wider scope of health and wellbeing services than
could realistically be delivered without a base and can be accessed by all regardless
of where they are vulnerable housed as well as those still on the streets.
There are many benefits to staff of having a base where they can be co-located and
work together in a multi-disciplinary way and aiding multi-agency communication and
service delivery and makes the most of the services we have in place already as well
as new roles which have recently been funded.
The health hub would provide office and clinic space, showers, laundry facilities,
access to computers and locker space so that people can attend and receive the
support and/or treatment needed.
There are many other initiative happening, including access to clothing and new
shoes, furniture and household items when people settle into accommodation, help
to move and move in, day provision to offer meaningful occupation, training and
skills development and getting people back into work, more support around mental
health and addiction issues and befriending. There is also financial and debt advice
and support to claim benefits and access a wide variety of services.