Down & Out in Bournemouth & Poole: Day 19: No Second Night Out – The Government Said….

Here is Grant Schapps talking about the government’s ‘No Second Night Out’ report & here are the aims as laid out in the ‘No Second Night Out Campaign’ in 2011,

The issue

According to government statistics, an estimated 2,744 people sleep rough every night. Life on the streets is damaging to both the person who is homeless and society.

The longer someone stays out, the greater the risk that they will be trapped on the streets where they are very vulnerable to crime, drugs and alcohol problems, illness, mental health issues and dying prematurely.

Evidence suggests that some individuals sleeping rough may not be known to local services; while not all rough sleepers are aware that advice and services are available to them.

But it does not have to be like this.  With the right services and the help of the public, we can make sure no one has to make a life on the streets.

The solution

In 2011, in partnership with Government, we called on every council in England to adopt the idea of No Second Night Out.

This means having the right services in place, so:

  • New rough sleepers can be identified and helped off the streets immediately; in Poole it is the Crime.Reduction.Initiative. who count rough sleepers, but then there appears to be an addition to their agenda. That of strongly encouraging homeless people to go back to their point of origin for housing, and they appear to be doing this on behalf of the local councils who appointed them. 
  • The public can alert services if they see anyone sleeping rough so they get help; so far the only notifications we have been made aware of are those where a member of the general public has been involved in a fraca with a homeless person and they have then complained to the police, resulting in the homeless person being arrested.
  • Rough sleepers can go to a place of safety, where their needs can be assessed and they can get help; rough sleepers are helped by a number of charities in Poole, but any fool could tell you that sleeping rough can be dangerous, and a number of people I know have resorted to very desperate measures (from robbery to drug dealing to cottaging) in order to get themselves housed, since help from Poole Housing has not been forthcoming. 
  • Rough sleepers are able to get emergency accommodation and other services they need; this is not true in Poole, where a number of people had been led to believe that if you have a chronic drugs problem or mental health problem the council might house you. We encountered one chronic alcoholic who was hospitalised twice to our knowledge, having collapsed in Poole town centre, the council made no effort to rehouse this person.
  • Rough sleepers from outside the area can be reconnected with their community, where they can be near family and friends, and can get housing and support. This has been proven true insofar as Poole Housing has shown itself willing to pay for homeless people who are sleeping rough to return via a coach ticket to their last point of origin.

This is what we know to be the case in Poole and yet in 2014 this was what the government in tandem with Home Link had to say,

2014

  • Only two councils yet to commit to adopting No Second Night Out
  • Review of No Second Night Out services finds that around 7 in 10 rough sleepers across England are now helped off the streets the day they are found, and nearly 8 in 10 (78%) do not return after receiving help.

Where next?

We need to make sure investment in tackling rough sleeping continues. We and our members are focussing our energy on meeting four simple pledges:

  1. No one new to the streets should spend a second night out
  2. No one should live on the streets
  3. No one should return to the streets once they have been helped off them, and ultimately 
  4. No one should arrive on the streets

So, the government maintains that things have radically improved for people having to spend a first night on the streets, we maintain they have not,as do those folks who’ve been sleeping rough for years. So now the question is, whose version of the truth do you, the reader, believe?

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