Newcastle launches rough sleeping initiative

An innovative partnership entitled Street Zero has been launched on the streets of Newcastle to put an end to rough sleeping in the region.

Bringing together key partners who are collectively developing a city-wide strategy to deliver compassionate solutions to prevent homelessness occurring in the first place, Street Zero aims to utilise already established agencies to further develop practical actions to alleviate disadvantage and suffering so that no one needs to sleep rough.

The Street Zero Partnership Board’s newly developed joined up approach revolves around three key steps: prevention, responding and transforming. Prevention looks at how to stop people having to sleep rough in the first place while responding is about working together to provide personalised support to people sleeping rough via assertive outreach, offering a route off the streets as quickly as possible. The final element is about transformation; changing the city’s accommodation and support services that people are offered a housing led package of integrated and tailored support.

Bob Eldridge, from Newcastle Homeless Commission and Street Zero chair, said: “People who are rough sleeping are in that situation because of complex personal challenges, not just because of a lack of accommodation. Rough sleeping is not inevitable and by working better together to help address the individual’s physical and mental health problems we can prevent people from sleeping rough in the first place.  

“Newcastle is a city that cares. Every day, I see examples of the compassion shown by residents and people who live and work in the city, the businesses that take their corporate social responsibility seriously, and the many public and third sector organisations who are already working in partnership towards ending homelessness.”

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council said: “Our city is coming together to end homelessness, because we know we all have a part to play in that aim. Whether that’s the council or the voluntary sector, or just people passing by and wanting to help. We know that at this time of year it’s more important than ever that we renew those efforts and make sure no one feels the need to sleep rough. The Sleep Zero fund is a great way for people from all backgrounds to help out, and I know Newcastle will get right behind it.”