Tackling homelessness is priority for Bucks Council which reports fewer than five rough sleepers

New homelessness strategy announced to help eliminate rough sleeper numbers in Bucks

By Olga Norford
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 12:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 1:58 pm

The number of rough sleepers in Buckinghamshire remains at a low level, according to figures from a Government survey.

The rough sleeping snapshot was carried out in the autumn of 2021. This is an annual count of the rough sleepers seen in each local housing authority on a single, chosen night between 1 October and 30 November.

Buckinghamshire Council reported fewer than five rough sleepers. This compares to five rough sleepers reported in the previous 2020 count when Buckinghamshire was cited as being within the top 10 most improved areas in the country for reducing rough sleeping.

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Rough sleeper numbers in Buckinghamshire remain low

Mark Winn, Deputy Cabinet Member for Homelessness, said: “While we appreciate these figures only give a snapshot of rough sleeping on one particular night in the year, when compared with figures for previous years, we get a good indication of the improving pattern of rough sleeping in the county.

“This figure is an excellent result for the council and its partners. We have successfully managed to maintain the low level of rough sleepers who were recorded in the previous 2020 count. It reflects the huge amount of work being done jointly by officers and partner agencies.”

In response to the pandemic the Government introduced a range of support for rough sleepers including the ‘Everybody In’ initiative which sought to offer all homeless people temporary accommodation to lessen their risk of catching Covid.

As a result, the number of rough sleepers fell significantly, nationally. However, the number of rough sleepers recorded in the 2021 count has remained low in spite of 'Everybody In' coming to an end and the laws around evictions and notice periods reverting to pre-pandemic rules. This is due to the huge amount of work being carried out in Buckinghamshire to verify and engage with rough sleepers and to secure accommodation and support so they can move off the streets.

Mr Winn added: “ I am very pleased to see that we have seen some real and notable successes in getting long term and entrenched rough sleepers off the streets, providing them with secure accommodation and the support they need to make it a permanent move. The results are a huge credit to all those involved in achieving this. However, we must remember, even a low figure of rough sleepers in Bucks on any one night is still too many. As a council we are committed to working with individuals and our partners to ensure all are supported in their journey towards being able to support themselves in accommodation.

"Virtually eliminating rough sleeping and tackling homelessness in Buckinghamshire is one of the key priorities of this council and our determination to make a difference to people’s lives is reflected in the development of a new countywide homelessness strategy and I would really encourage people to comment on the consultation on the draft version of this strategy."

People are invited to have their say on the draft strategy in one of the following ways:

Complete the online survey here Complete and return a printed version of the survey that can be downloaded from Your Voice Bucks

Write to Homelessness Strategy Consultation, Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, Bucks HP19 8FF

If you have any questions about this consultation, email [email protected] or phone 0300 131 6000.

The consultation closes at midnight on March 21.