More money has been spent on homelessness services as rough sleeping in Nottingham reaches its highest level since 1998, but one local homeless man says more needs to be done.
Rough sleeping across the city has increased by 150 percent, according to a local homelessness support centre.
The city council has spent an additional £500,000 on temporary accommodation and an extra £100,000 on more rough sleeping services.
Head of housing solutions Gary Harvey said: ”It’s a national scandal which needs addressing, but the city of Nottingham is benefiting from a strong continuation of investment into homelessness prevention.”
The funding is to ensure that homeless people get the services they need, but a local rough sleeper says there should be more emotional support.
Video: Emmanuel House and Housing Aid on Nottingham’s current homelessness situation… But what do homeless people think?
Kevin Hunt, who’s been homeless for seven months, believes the support should focus on helping the people who are currently on the streets.
He said: ”There needs to be a lot more psychological assistance for current homeless people rather than services for those at risk.
”We need to look after the people who are already homeless because a lot of them do use drugs and alcohol, and even have mental health problems.
”Fair enough, support somebody, get them off the street, get them into accommodation, but the support needs to be ongoing. If you give somebody a bed to sleep in, that’s not going to change who they are.”
Homelessness services in Nottingham include:
- ”No Second Night Out” – which ensures that no one sleeping rough has to spend a second night out on the streets.
- The cold weather plan – a service ran by a nurse-led team to provide healthcare treatments during the winter months.
- A homelessness prevention service – which works with people who have drug and alcohol issues and are ”sofa-surfing”.
- Street Outreach teams – helping rough sleepers access accommodation and temporary support.
Nottingham City Council provides ”floating support”, which makes sure that newly rehoused people are able to live independently in the community.
Due to the welfare cuts from Central Government, the services now lasts for a shorter period of time.
Mr Harvey said: ”Because of the way funding operates, we don’t have anywhere near the level of services running for as long as we used to have.
”We did have a solid system of floating support but that’s been cut back and we’re now depending more on the voluntary sector.”
Nottingham is home to many voluntary support centres such as Framework and Emmanuel House, but they too have noticed the cuts.
”There should be clear Government investment into our work”
A senior support worker from Emmanuel House said: ”We don’t receive as much funding anymore because we’re competing against other equally needy areas such as the elderly or childcare.
”Homelessness shouldn’t have to compete with those kind of client groups for resources and there should be clear Government investment into our work.”
The city council is hoping to provide new homelessness services in the future, but it fears that the increasing Government cuts could halt those ambitions.