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City of York increases support to rough sleepers with new emergency beds
City of York Council is offering up to 29 extra emergency beds to accommodate rough sleepers this winter. Emergency winter provision is put in place to ensure every rough sleeper has the option of a warm place to stay as the temperature drops and the health risks of sleeping rough increase.
York’s emergency winter bed scheme exceeds national guidelines and is available whether it’s freezing or not. Up to 29 emergency beds are available this winter from the start of November – a smaller number are always available at other times of year – in addition to the 120 regular beds for single, homeless people.
Anyone needing a bed is triaged into the accommodation best-suited to their situation and support needs. Once the support is underway, people are offered longer-term accommodation with a level of support that’s right for them. If this is successful, they can be supported into living more independently.
The official annual rough sleeper count took place across the country on 8 November, where data independently verified by Homeless Link showed 15 people sleeping on York’s streets. This rate can fluctuate during a calendar year based on a range of factors.
The annual street count follows two months of information gathering from statutory, charity and voluntary organisations. Together, they establish who has, and who doesn’t have accommodation and who is regularly moving from city to city.
Officers from City of York Council, Carecent, Changing Lives, North Yorkshire Police and other organisations walked the streets of York looking for people sleeping out, and visited places known to be used by rough sleepers. These locations are taken from a number of sources including StreetLink – the national rough sleeper alert organisation – and the Council’s rough sleeper navigators who work daily on the streets. A network of partners across the city are aware of and signpost people to help at all times.
Cllr Michael Pavlovic, Executive Member for Housing, Planning and Safer Communities at City of York Council, said:
“People sleeping on our streets are amongst the most vulnerable in society. Many have suffered huge traumas in their lives, and it is our duty to do all we can to keep them safe.
“In York, our emergency provision offers support and a warm and safe respite from the cold weather. But we need to make sure we also do all we can to help rough sleepers stay off the streets. This council is working collaboratively, through our street navigators and with other organisations who work directly with rough sleepers. We’ll consult with them and rough sleepers themselves to develop comprehensive wraparound support.
“But we urge anyone concerned about someone sleeping rough to contact the Council or Streetlink straight away. We must do all we can to bring an end to rough sleeping in our city.”
For more information on how we help rough sleepers, please visit www.york.gov.uk/roughsleeping.
If you or someone you see is sleeping outdoors, please let StreetLink know. They will notify us so we can go and offer help.
You can donate to people sleeping rough via www.tworidingscf.org.uk/yorkstreetaid/ who give personalised grants to homeless people in York. This includes help to buy clothes for interviews, a bike to get to work or paying rent on an allotment.