Homelessness and Rough Sleeping

HOMELESSNESS AND ROUGH SLEEPING
In March of this year, local councils were given £3.2m to provide emergency shelter for homeless people, as part of an ‘Everyone In’ scheme. The scheme has largely been seen as being successful, with about 5,400 people being given temporary accommodation and, consequently, despite widespread fears about Covid-19’s impact on rough sleepers, it has been credited with mostly protecting the homeless. However, funding for the scheme in England is now not being extended, creating uncertainty about what will then happen to those housed under the scheme.

Below is a summary of some of the local agencies that can be contacted if you, or someone you know, is worried about where they are going to live or fear being made homeless.

BRACKNELL FOREST COUNCIL
If you feel you are at risk of homelessness It is a council priority to help anyone to avoid becoming homeless. They will work with you to make sure that you do not become homeless, wherever it is possible by:
 negotiating with landlords or the people lived with
 providing housing advice – including advice on rent arrears and affordability issues and any grants or benefits that may be available
 providing advice on housing related support which are not general health, social care or statutory personal care services to help people independently
 exploring alternative housing options such as adapting, swopping or downsizing homes to make it more affordable or – depending on age – sheltered housing.

It is BFC’s duty to help people avoid becoming homeless. If you are homeless or think you might be at risk of losing your home, please contact the council soon as possible so they can try to help by phoning 01344 352010.

If you find yourself homeless
If BFC have not been able to prevent someone from becoming homeless under the prevention duty, they will be owed the relief duty. During the relief duty the council must take reasonable steps to help a person to secure suitable accommodation. The relief duty lasts for up to 56 days and is available to all households who are homeless and eligible. In circumstances where the council has to provide emergency accommodation as a homeless household, where there is no other option, they may have to be placed in bed and breakfast accommodation. This accommodation may be outside of the Bracknell Forest area.

If the person has no local connection to Bracknell Forest, the assistance available is limited and they may be referred to the Borough they have a connection to.

Rough sleeping
If you are worried about someone sleeping rough, you can tell Bracknell Forest Council via the Streetlink website https://www.streetlink.org.uk/
or call 0300 500 0914 or you can email the Rough.SleepersTeam@bracknell-forest.gov.uk

If you are homeless yourself, please call BFC Housing Options on 01344 352010.  Out of hours you can call 01344 786543.

OTHER LOCAL AGENCIES THAT MAY BE ABLE TO HELP
StreetLink is the national referral line, which we manage in partnership with Homeless Link. By using the StreetLink app, website or phone line, you can alert Local Authorities and homelessness organisations to people sleeping rough. StreetLink urgently connects people experiencing homelessness with the local support available to them. The details you provide are sent to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support. https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ or call 0300 500 0914

If you think the person you are concerned about is either aged under 18 years or in immediate danger or needs urgent care, please call 999.

The Salvation Army – During the coronavirus pandemic many of their Life houses are remaining open with special measures in place. Alongside these, some salvation Army buildings are set up to be safe night shelters for homeless people, with space for healthy separation. Their homeless day centres are now offering doorstep health advice and food parcels for those who have been given temporary accommodation, while night time soup runs are delivering hot food at a safe distance from our emergency response vehicles.  Local Salvation Army contacts are:

Wokingham Salvation Army Sturges Road, Wokingham RG40 2HD Email: wokingham.salvationarmy@hotmail.co.uk  Phone: 01189 894055 Slough Salvation Army 53 Stoke Road, Slough SL2 5BW Phone: 01753 525819
Lower Earley Salvation Army Chalfont Close, (vehicle access via Durand Road) Reading RG6 5HZ
Email: susan.betts@salvationarmy.org.uk; Phone: 0118 931 0760