Lorraine Mealings, BCHA’s Chief Executive, responds to the government’s Rough Sleeping Snapshot Data in England for Autumn 2022, announced on Tuesday 28 February:
“BCHA is committed to its mission to end homelessness and works hard across its many services in pursuit of one ultimate goal: to ensure that no-one has to experience homelessness.
“While it is concerning to see that rough sleeping has increased nationally and within the South West, where we operate, we are very proud of the achievements of our teams and partners, who work around the clock to support people off the streets and into stable accommodation, as well as preventing many people from being driven into rough sleeping.
“Our dedicated colleagues work diligently to help people to reimagine the future on their own terms, delivering innovative services for those who have experienced trauma and crisis in their lives. In the last six months alone, BCHA services have supported more than 100 people into long-term accommodation.
“Across the South West region, we collaborate with local authorities and many other partners to find and deliver creative solutions to end homelessness. The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), which has been designed to ensure that no-one has to endure rough sleeping during sustained periods of sub-zero temperatures, has been activated by many councils this winter – helping to bring more than 100 people into safe accommodation in the BCP area alone. Significantly, over half of these people have remained in accommodation after SWEP was deactivated – a fantastic example of what can be achieved by collaborative working to reduce numbers from the Autumn data.
“Despite these achievements, the cost-of-living crisis is driving more people into homelessness, so it’s critically important that services are properly funded to reduce the impact of rough sleeping. This is why we support Homeless Link’s ‘Keep Our Doors Open’ campaign, which calls on government to urgently provide a vital funding uplift for commissioned homelessness services.
“We will continue to champion co-operation across the sector to identify opportunities to prevent and tackle homelessness. Please take a look at the BCHA website to see what we are doing to achieve these goals.”