Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Newham Council Rough Sleeping Street Count: 25 May 2021


Last night I took part again in the latest count of people "rough sleeping" in Newham. Council Officers, members, outreach workers and volunteers, turned up at the former Council staff restaurant area in Newham Dockside building at 11pm for a coffee then briefing. At 11.45pm we went out in teams of 2 to visit different parts of the borough in order to observe and count the number of "rough sleepers". 

One of the reasons to do this is to show funders of measures to support rough sleepers and help get them off the streets that we make a difference. 

Due to Covid the count team is scaled down from the past. I went out with Kris from Thamesreach to visit Stratford town centre. 

We found two people sleeping separately in shop doorways. One of whom was unknown to outreach. This information was fed back to the early morning outreach shift, who would contact both of them and offer support. 

While we found evidence of more people sleeping rough in the past (abandoned mattresses and clothing), it is amazing what a difference our outreach teams, local volunteers and other agencies have made. 

I can remember previous counts in Stratford when we would see over 100 people sleeping rough. While having to close Stratford shopping centre overnight due to Covid made a huge difference, the joined up compassionate but pro active response has made a huge difference. Well done to everyone involved including former rough sleepers with lived experience. 

This "success" also shows that you can deal with street homelessness if you have the will and the resources. However, at the moment many rough sleepers are being housed in hotels and other forms of temporary accommodation. Some of these hotels are now wanting to cater again to the business and tourist market while the government is clearly either getting rid or reducing the financial support they had promised local authorities to get everyone off the streets. 

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