Rough sleeping eradication target is ‘abysmal’

A leading city councillor described a government target to eradicate rough sleeping by 2027 as “abysmal”.

Former Mayor of Lincoln, Councillor Chris Burke, said more needed to be done to help rough sleepers and tailor support to them.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s strategy looks to end rough sleeping completely in eight years’ time.

The government is expected to commit £100 million worth of funding to the plan by 2020, with an aim of preventing people from sleeping rough in the first place.

Former Mayor of Lincoln, City of Lincoln Councillor Chris Burke. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

But, speaking at a Street Homeless conference in Lincoln, Councillor Burke said the target could be met much sooner.

“I think that as a target 2027 is abysmal,” he said.

“It can be achieved long before that with sufficient resources and part of the solution for this is proper tailored support for people.”

He added that a cut in Supported People Funding from the government over the last decade has left areas unable to provide adequate accommodation, such as hostels.

In Lincoln, recent figures show that 29 people are sleeping rough in the city.

Fortnightly checks are carried out by city council officials to count the amount people sleeping on the streets.

The authority said the number can vary from month to month.

Peter Collins, speaking on behalf of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government at Street Homeless conference in Lincoln. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

Peter Smith, who represented the government at the conference, said the strategy would help to tackle the problem.

He said that “people should never have to sleep rough”, but agreed to refer concerns over a lack of resources back to his department.

Meanwhile, delegates at the conference held at Lincoln’s Showroom discussed working together to tackle the city’s homeless problem.

Ideas such as improving directions for rough sleepers to find support and the YMCA’s new homeless shelter were debated.

YMCA Lincolnshire were given outline planning permission by the city council to transform its former gym and leisure space on St Rumbold’s Street into a day centre.

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