Support is being offered to a small group of homeless and street-attached individuals in Aldershot and Farnborough following ongoing concerns about their welfare.
Rushmoor Borough Council is continuing to seek to engage with a small number of individuals, who have chosen not to cooperate with support services so far, for various reasons. This is in spite of repeated attempts to provide them with accommodation, medical help and assistance with potential substance abuse issues, if appropriate.
The council works closely with partner agencies and outreach services to encourage individuals to seek access to specialist support and make a positive change that will help them to turn their lives around.
Councils are required by law to help individuals and families, who are threatened with homelessness, or are already homeless, secure suitable accommodation. This help is provided to people at threat of eviction from their current home, living in unsuitable accommodation, or already homeless.
As part of the help provided, the council will consider the individuals’ support needs and provide them with a personal housing plan aimed at preventing them becoming homeless, or in the case of those already homeless, to help them find accommodation.
As well as these statutory requirements, Rushmoor Borough Council proactively provides interim housing, when required, and works closely with services which provide ‘supported’ accommodation. This means the most vulnerable individuals receive support in addressing their issues, such as physical health concerns, mental health difficulties or substance mis-use support, as well as help with life skills.
The council also offers financial support to individuals and families to secure accommodation in the private sector. With this financial support, it provides households with a financial assessment, income maximisation advice, and budgeting support.
Members of the public may see the council’s staff providing a daily street-outreach service, where individuals receive support on the street, and are also invited to attend the council offices, where further support can be provided. The council also holds a weekly drop-in session at the council offices, and monthly forums with partner organisations, to develop targeted plans to assist homeless individuals.
Local people also have an important role in helping anyone they suspect of sleeping rough by reporting it to Streetlink at www.streetlink.org.uk.This report comes through to the council’s housing team, which can then work with the outreach service to support them off the streets as quickly as possible.
Councillor Maurice Sheehan, Rushmoor Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Operational Services, said: “There are a small number of homeless people locally, who we are actively continuing to try to engage with and secure housing and support for. We are working closely with our partner organisations to help these individuals change their behaviour and get access to support. We continue to support people and encourage their engagement with us, so we can help them manage their lifestyle choices.
“There are also a few individuals who are ‘street-attached’ – these are a group of individuals who, despite on-going efforts to support them, face significant periods without accommodation and have become acclimatised to their situation.
“We provide support to these individuals in an attempt to provide them with a suitable home, so they can have a better standard of life. However, despite our efforts, not all individuals are willing, or ready, to engage the support we, and our partner agencies, can provide. Often the this is because of the direct financial support they receive from well-meaning members of the community. We would urge anyone who would like to support individuals on the street to homeless charities in the area such as Step by Step – www.stepbystep.org.uk or The Vine Centre – www.thevinecentre.org.uk rather than to individuals.
“Our message is that there is always help available for all those who want to change their behaviour, and we encourage everyone to let us know if they are concerned for someone’s welfare.”
• Anyone who suspects someone is homeless should contact Streetlink via www.Streetlink.org.uk
• Anyone who sees any antisocial behaviour should contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101.