Fifty representatives from over 25 different agencies and voluntary groups attended a Rough Sleeper and Street Activity Workshop at the White Rock Hotel last Wednesday.
The event focused on individuals that might be engaged in begging , street drinking or rough sleeping, examining how best to respond to recent rises in rough sleeping and street-related activity.
A wide variety of services, agencies and community groups attended, pooling their knowledge of providing support, engagement and where necessary enforcement to the street community.
“Initial feedback from the day has been extremely positive,” said Cllr Kim Forward, the lead member for housing, equalities and communities at Hastings Borough Council.
“It was heartening to see so many individuals in the same room with such a strong commitment to improving the housing, health and wellbeing outcomes of rough sleepers and the street community;.
“It felt as though real progress was made towards a consensus on the type of approach which might improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable and isolated groups within our community.”
In the coming weeks a working group will be set up to develop a set of shared principles that will underpin a multi-agency whole system.
The intention is that these principles will be the foundation upon which a more coordinated and united approach will be built, so that rough sleepers and the street community can easily access an effective, holistic package of support delivered collaboratively within a system that will enable individuals to have an enhanced experience locally.
The workshop was organised by Hastings Borough Council’s Housing Options team in conjunction with Community Safety and partners from Fulfilling Lives, Making Every Adult Matter, Seaview, Sussex Police and NHS Hastings and Rother Clinical Commissioning Group.
The Snowflake Project has been running a volunteer staffed night shelter, for rough-sleepers at church halls around the town, during the winter months.
It provided a warm environment for the night and supper and breakfast. This has now come to a close.
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