‘The numbers are falling’ – Council bosses give update on work helping Doncaster town centre rough sleepers
The number of rough sleepers in Doncaster has fallen dramatically, a senior council boss has said.
Pat Hagan, head of localities and town centre, said 67 people were sleeping rough at the height of summer but the figure has since fallen to 13.
Councillors in Civic Office heard the multi-agency Complex Lives programme is now in the process of bringing more partners across Doncaster to help.
Plans to improve the accommodation offer for people who become homeless was said to a ‘central idea moving forward’.
Mr Hagan told councillors that Doncaster is not suffering from people living long-term on the streets in ‘tents or makeshift encampments unlike other towns and cities.
Th outreach boss also revealed five rough sleepers flat out refused help to access services when the so-called Beast from the East hit Doncaster with subzero temperatures and flurries of snow.
The council boss gave a presentation to councillors with an update how different teams were trying to help rough sleepers in the borough.
Councillors heard the complex lives team are coming into contact with roughly ‘four people a week’ sleeping rough due to evictions and prison releases.
The meeting was told that 54 people were said to be ‘on the brink’ that could end up homeless or sleeping rough.
“I’m very proud of the work that we’re doing and the efforts of the team with their drive and commitment,” Mr Hagan said.
“What you don’t see in Doncaster compared to what you’re seeing in other towns and cities is people long term living on the street in tents or makeshift encampments on high streets up and down the country.
“When we talk about the summer, when we had a worrying number of 67 rough sleepers in the town centre – when the Beast from the East came around in February and March we got the number down to five who simply wouldn’t come to access services or support.
“There is development work around improving the offer of accommodation and that’s by working with private sector landlords – we’re talking about a very unfashionable group of people that are not always attractive to them.
“We’re also looking at the reform of hostels to smaller more grouped accommodation – we don’t want anything clustered around the town centre.”