Updates from cities taking part in the European End Street Homelessness Campaign:
- Alicante & Valencia. There are currently 175 Housing First units across Spain with plans to create a Housing First Spain Hub. This will bring together local and regional governments, NGOs and the private sector. The Hub will meet twice a year. Their aim is to work together to influence the budget for more Housing First units. And there are plans to expand to Castellón, a third city in the region.
- Athens held a pilot Connections Week in March over three different nights – 6, 13 and 20 March. They are working on a report of their findings and plan to hold a full Connections Week later in the year.
- Barcelona held their third annual Connections Week in June, where they found 830 people on the streets and surveyed 322. Read more on the results here (in Spanish) or read our blog about the people we met.
- Bratislava ran a Connections Week in June covering the area of the Old Town of Bratislava. There is no legal definition of homelessness in Slovakia and this was the first time that a survey of this kind had been carried out in the city. They identified 123 people sleeping rough and found that chronic (long-term) homelessness was dominant here. NGO oz STOPA Slovensko are working with the Municipal Council to develop a strategy around ending homelessness. Read more on their Connections Week here.
- Brighton. Following the Innovation Event in March, Brighton have set-up five Ambition Development Groups. These are: Housing First; Self-Help Housing; local providers offering units in existing projects; Modular Housing; and private rented accommodation (PRA) at Living Rent. Each group is in the process of setting up meetings, establishing structures and mapping out action plans. YMCA DLG committed half of the money raised at the Brighton & Hove Sleep Easy fundraising event to GalvaniseBH – most of this money will be used to house a small number of rough sleepers, in partnership with the local fund Umbrella Brighton & Hove. These rough sleepers are people with low-needs who were met during Connections Week. A full report on the campaign so far will be published soon.
- Brussels. ‘Challenge Citoyen’, which was launched in January, came to an end in June. Six teams came up with six projects aimed at finding new housing solutions. These included finance, cohabitation and modular housing. A second Connections Week is planned for September.
- Croydon were awarded £500,000 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) specifically for Housing First. They are implementing their By Name List of rough sleepers between all agencies and some initial faith groups. They are also planning to refresh their branding later this year alongside developing a website.
- Glasgow. The Housing First Scotland Fund was launched in June. This is a £3 million fund to deliver the approach in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling and Dundee. Glasgow Homelessness Network held their Housing First Conference 2018 at the end of June.
- Leicester have developed a Rough Sleeping Strategy over the last few months which formed the basis of a successful submission to the MHCLG rough sleeping fund. They also carried out a 6-month audit of the ‘name list’ of homeless people created during their Connections Week last November. Of the 63 people identified as sleeping rough that week 39 are currently housed including 17 who are in permanent accommodation. A live ‘name list’ is soon to be introduced, which will provide a city and county-wide rough sleeper database. A second Connections Week will take place in November.
- Sheffield hosted the Festival of Debate in Spring, where Roundabout held an event on rough sleeping and begging – read more in our blog.
- Torbay. Crisis completed a study, funded by the Nationwide Foundation, on the feasibility of Housing First and rapid rehousing in Torbay. They spoke to 40 people with lived experience of homelessness in the area and many people working with those who are homeless. Read the report here. They will also be holding their second Connections Week this month. Torbay Council publicly announced that they support the full Housing First proposal, subject to multi-agency support and funding being secured.
- Westminster are running a funded programme called First Response, which supports volunteers to continue their involvement and motivation in the Campaign. Over 150 volunteers have signed up to the programme to help locate rough sleepers across four London boroughs including Westminster.
Image credit: Juan Lemus