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Homeless in Sheffield? You Could Be a Photo Opportunity for UKIP

LabourSheffield are disappointed to see that UKIP have used a recent debate on homelessness in Sheffield to misrepresent a desperate and sensitive issue.

JayneDunn.jpgThe Council turned down a request to make empty buildings available at this time. But as UKIP representatives know – that’s not the full story. Councillor Jayne Dunn, Labour’s Cabinet Member for Housing sets the record straight:

‘Homelessness is an issue that’s very close to my heart and I am committed to doing everything possible to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so.

This includes providing accommodation to anyone forced to sleep on the street in Sheffield. And because we’re able to meet the need for this, we’re not currently planning to open up empty buildings. If that changes then so will we.

We’re aware of around 11 rough sleepers at the moment. We’re also aware of other people who may appear to be homeless but actually have somewhere to stay and may be involved in street activities such as begging and drinking – and it’s important that we can and do help all these people.

UKIP representatives know this is the case and are wilfully misleading the public. Picturing the most vulnerable people in Sheffield to use them as a political football is an absolute disgrace. It is politics at its worst.   

If UKIP representatives really want to help they could helpfully talk to homeless and potentially homeless people and make them aware of these initiatives promoted by LabourSheffield.

  • Housing Solutions chairs a multi-agency Rough Sleepers Information sharing group which puts in place an action plan for each rough sleeper with an aim to getting them off the streets and finding suitable accommodation.

  • The Council commission a Rough Sleepers service who work with people sleeping on the streets with a focus on securing permanent accommodation. This includes helping people develop life skills, financial management and offering health and wellbeing support.

  • Every week a number of early morning outreach sessions take place in the city centre to identify and support those people who are sleeping rough. This is a multi-agency approach and includes colleagues from the commissioned service, the police and staff from the Housing Advice and Options Service.

  • If people find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness they can contact the Housing Solutions Advice Line. An officer will offer support and advice to individuals as well as determine if the council has a duty to provide accommodation, and refer to any supported housing if the customer has a particular housing support need.

  • If a member of the general public identifies a rough sleeper they can contact Turning Point - the commissioned rough sleepers service who will be able to offer support and visit the rough sleeper.

  • Overnight accommodation is offered to anyone who would be sleeping rough during times of extremely adverse weather. Accommodation offered includes crash pad accommodation and accommodation in hostels.

  • Sheffield also has a number of non-accommodation based services which offer practical help and advice to rough sleepers including services such as the Archer project and St Wilfrids centre. These offer a drop-in service for the homeless and vulnerable, involving food, clothing, showers and laundry facilities as well as access to healthcare professionals and support to find somewhere to live. Bens centre also provides a drop in service for street drinkers. There are a number of people who may not have recourse to public funds and there are organisations such as Assist and the northern Refugee Centre offering help.

  • There are also a number of voluntary and faith sector organisations that offer help and support. Further details of what's available can be accessed by contacting the Housing options and Advice Service, Turning Point or one of the drop-in centres.



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