94pc of rough sleepers helped by council 'haven't returned to streets'

Rough sleeper. PHOTO: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Newham's mayor has praised the successes of the borough's strategy to support rough sleepers. - Credit: PA

More than nine in 10 rough sleepers accommodated by Newham Council during the pandemic have not returned to the streets, the town hall says.

As the borough marked World Homeless Day on Sunday, October 10, the Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz hailed the successes of the borough’s  strategy to tackle rough sleeping.

From March 2020 to May this year, the council said it and and its partners supported more than 650 rough sleepers.

It added that the latest results for the same period indicate that 94 per cent of people it has accommodated have not been seen sleeping on the streets since.

Ms Fiaz said: “I know from personal experience how devastating it can be to lose your home.

“I am deeply proud of our people-focused, compassionate strategy that has helped keep 94 per cent of rough sleepers from returning to the streets.

“Here in Newham, we empower vulnerable people to make decisions about their own future while we support them with critical needs, like substance misuse, immigration status and Covid-19 vaccinations."

An official count in July found there were 11 rough sleepers in the borough - a decrease of 89 per cent compared with January 2019, according to the council.

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The town hall says its projects have also registered 96pc of rough sleepers with a GP - up from lower than 20pc in recent years - and delivered Covid vaccinations to 60pc.

It has supported 205 rough sleepers to regularise their immigration status and engaged 84 people on the Public Health England enhanced substance misuse pathway.

Ms Fiaz said: “Even one person sleeping rough is too many. 

“It’s clear that our approach works - the government could make a huge difference to thousands of lives by following our lead.”

Newham’s rough sleeping results have seen it shortlisted in the LGC Awards 2021.

Last year, the borough was commended by the then-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government for achieving the highest proportionate reduction in rough sleeping in the UK.

Newham charities Caritas Anchor House and The Renewal Programme hosted a free music, comedy and storytelling festival in Canning Town on October 9 to mark World Homeless Day.