Birmingham sees largest rough sleeping reduction

Rough sleeping across Birmingham has reduced thanks to the help and support of community groups, council commissioned services, health and voluntary partners.

New government figures show that, in Birmingham, rough sleeping has almost halved with an approximate 52 people recorded as sleeping rough in the 2019 count, compared to 91 in the previous year. The decrease marks the largest reduction in rough sleeping of any core city in England.

Over the course of the last 12 months, Birmingham has changed the provider for its Birmingham Rough Sleeper Outreach Team, has increased the number of staff on the team and expanded the area they cover, from the city centre to city-wide. The council has also expanded its accommodation and capacity to provide for overnight Severe Weather Emergency Provision and is working collaboratively with voluntary and faith sectors alike to achieve this.

Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for homes and neighbourhoods at Birmingham City Council, said” “It’s a fantastic achievement to reduce the numbers by so much and our local intelligence shows that this number is continuing to fall. However, we need to be clear that there’s still much more we need to do. Rough sleeping is a devastating and chaotic lifestyle and 52 people sleeping rough is far too many. While it would be disingenuous for me to say we’ll put an end to rough sleeping, our ultimate aim is a realistic one; to get this figure as low as we possibly can through prevention and support.

“In Birmingham, we’ve taken a collaborative approach with partners across the city. It starts with the Birmingham Homelessness Partnership Board and drives right down to frontline staff and volunteers who are out there every day and night supporting people. We’ve listened to the feedback shared with us and we’ve made huge changes to our services. I couldn’t be prouder of the work that’s been carried out here in Birmingham and I’m optimistic for the future.”

The MHCLG figures detail the number of rough sleepers across all English local authorities, as recorded on one night in November.