Council working with charities to find temporary accommodation for rough sleepers

The council are working together with several other agencies, volunteer groups and local churches to find accommodation for more than 80 people sleeping rough on our streets.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 10:53 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 10:55 am
The Council are working with several local agencies to help house the homeless during the Covid 19 pandemic

Rough sleepers are a highly vulnerable group; often unable to isolate themselves, many have underlying health conditions that could leave them less able to fight coronavirus and at risk of passing it on to others.

The rough sleepers who have been accommodated are being supported for their on-going health needs and are being provided with food.

There are a very small number who have so far declined the offer of accommodation and these continue to be supported by outreach teams - again looking after their physical and mental health needs and ensuring they have food and medication.

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It has only been possible to accommodate all rough sleepers because coronavius has meant that a number of hotels, bed & breakfast establishments and other accommodation providers have vacancies as their usual customers are staying away due to the current travel restrictions.

Providing a bed for former rough sleepers is however, just the start.

Many need medical support to meet their physical and mental health needs, as well as regular food deliveries.

The Buckinghamshire Council housing team is co-ordinating support across the county and is being supported by a significant number of other agencies, volunteer groups, local churches and businesses including:

Aylesbury Foodbank, Aylesbury Homeless Action, BORG (Bucks & Oxon 4x4 Response Group), Bromford Housing, Coin Group, Connections Outreach, Heart of Bucks - the Community Foundation for Buckinghamshire, the Methodist Friday Food project, Oasis, Old Tea Warehouse, One Can Trust High Wycombe, One Recovery Bucks, One YMCA, Oxford Health, Quaker Friendship in Action project, Tesco Aylesbury, Trussell Trust, Vale of Aylesbury Housing, The Vineyard Aylesbury. Wycombe Homeless Connection and Wycombe Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme.

Cllr Isobel Darby, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: "It has taken a huge amount of work by our staff plus a network of support agencies and local groups to find accommodation for all our rough sleepers, to keep them fed, meet their medical needs and reduce their exposure to the possibility of contracting coronavirus, and I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved.

“During the current crisis there is no need to give to people who might still be begging. It would be better to donate to local homeless charities but if you are concerned for the welfare of an individual, please notify the council”.

The World Health Organisation also warns that coronavirus could spread through handling money, which is another reason not to give directly to beggars.

Details of charities supporting the homeless in and around Aylesbury can be found at: https://www.aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk/rough-sleeper-initiative and in the High Wycombe area at: https://www.wycombe.gov.uk/pages/Community/Community-safety/Wycombe-Street-Support-Partnership.aspx.