May 24, 2021 3.46 pm This story is over 14 months old

Report uncovers the “invisible homeless” in Louth

Town second to Skegness

A new report, which reveals 31 people in Louth were sleeping rough last year, has highlighted how invisible the issue in East Lindsey can be.

A report before the Overview Committee next Tuesday (June 1) shows that the average nightly number of people sleeping rough in the district dropped by more than 77% in three years, councillors will be told next week.

An annual snapshot showed the number of people on the district’s streets on a “typical night” was down from 18 in 2018, to four in 2020.

“We are proud that at many points over the year, there has not been anybody sleeping rough in East Lindsey,” said the report from the council’s rough sleeping team.

According to that, more than 300 referrals were made to the team from April 2020 to March 2021, though 155 of those were not located or able to be verified as sleeping rough.

Of the 145 people found sleeping rough, 117 were moved into accommodation.

The locations in East Lindsey with the highest number of reports of people sleeping rough in 2020 were Skegness (128), Louth (31) and Mablethorpe (18).

“Highlighting the number in Louth goes to show how invisible people sleeping rough can actually be, as they don’t all sit out begging, some have jobs and they look as clean as the next person,” said a spokesman for East Lindsey District Council.

“It is all about people’s perception of what a person sleeping rough should look like and how they should present themselves.”

Some 103 did not give any location where they could be found.

The spokesman said the council often had people stating they were in a wood, shed, on the beach or were in their car, but did not give a location for where to find them.

There are also difficulties contacting people referred to them due to a lack of phone or charging point. But the team will keep looking to establish links where possible.

During the first lockdown last year, the government focused some of its funding on getting rough sleepers into accommodation, and as part of that the team found places for 23 people. Of those, two later returned to the streets.

As part of the pandemic, the council could no longer use communal halls/rooms when severe weather emergency protocols were activated, however, places such as the Witham Lodge, Salvation Army Hostel and B&Bs around the district were used.

Table showing the locations where rough sleepers were reported to be found. | Image: ELDC

It has also been helping rough sleepers get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The council is working with Framework Housing to provide seven additional units of accommodation for people with low level support needs in Skegness.

In all more than £728,744 in funding has been used in the past year, including:

  • £202,936 – Rough Sleeper Initiative Grant 2020/21
  • £46,278 – Underspends from 2019/20
  • £6,000 – Covid Grant
  • £25,579 –Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) short term funding
  • £443,800 –Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme ( RSAP ) (paid to Framework)
  • £4,151 – Cold Weather Grant