New service to support homeless people in Birmingham
- 11 Sep
A new service has been launched by Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Police and support agencies to help tackle the issue of rough sleepers and beggars in the city.
A new dedicated Homeless Street Triage car will be responding to the rising number of calls reporting homelessness, begging and anti-social drinking in the city, reports 24dash.
In the last year – from May 2014 to April 2015 – West Midlands Police took just over 1,000 calls about homelessness and begging. The new HOST car will carry a Birmingham Police officer in plain clothes alongside two outreach workers, including a substance abuse specialist, and operate from 9am till 9pm Monday to Friday.
Cllr John Cotton, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management & Homes, said: “In the first two weeks, the service has engaged with 69 people on the street, offered assistance and signposted to support agencies.This multi-agency, targeted approach to the plight of people finding themselves without accommodation is very welcome in our city. Its main focus is to sensitively and responsibly respond to the complex needs of individuals who have ended up sleeping on the streets to ensure they get the help and support they need.”
City centre police sergeant Lee Howard, added: “The aim is to help rough sleepers – people often with complex needs who struggle to access services – and direct them to benefits, housing, alcohol and substance abuse services, or mental health support.It will be a compassionate response recognising that police custody is usually not the most appropriate place for people involved in anti-social street activities.”
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