Torbay is a borough in Devon incorporating the three towns of Torquay, Brixham and Paignton, where rough sleeping has increased dramatically in recent years. Whilst this reflects a national trend, Torbay shows a higher percentage increase compared to England as a whole.
The local campaign, named the Torbay End Street Homelessness Campaign (TESH), is jointly led by three organisations, Torbay Council, Shekinah Mission, and Westward Housing and they began their campaign with their Connections Week in April 2017. During the week 25 volunteers spoke to 29 people on the street to find out about their needs. 50% of people surveyed had been on the streets for the whole of the year and one individual had been
homeless fifteen times.
In response to the survey findings Torbay is now developing steps detailing how they will support individuals off the streets into permanent homes, including:
- Using a single local phone number to report people sleeping on the streets
- Entering information about people on to a single system
- Developing Housing First for those who have been sleeping rough
- Using a single approach across Torbay no matter what organisation works with individuals.
As of August 2017 8 people who had been sleeping on the street during the Connections Week had moved into more sustainable accommodation.