Worcester City Council and its partner agencies that support rough sleepers have worked together to successfully implement all the recommendations made in an independent review into the death of a rough sleeper in the city.
The independent review into the death of 74-year-old rough sleeper Cardon Banfield, who died in 2016, was published in May last year and made 10 recommendations for improvements to rough sleeper services in the city. The review was carried out in line with guidance from the national charity Homeless Link.
A progress report on those recommendations, to be considered by the Council’s Communities Committee on October 30, confirms all the recommendations have been put into practice to provide on-going enhanced support to rough sleepers in the city and county.
The report sets out how the City Council and its partner agencies including St Paul’s Hostel, Caring for Communities and People (CCP), Maggs Day Centre and the YMCA have put the recommendations into practice.
Councillor James Stanley, Chair of the Communities Committee, said: “Across Worcestershire, support for rough sleepers is provided in partnership by a range of agencies, and every single one of them was moved by the tragic death of Mr Banfield.
“Worcester City Council commissioned the independent review into Mr Banfield’s death to establish if there were lessons that could be learnt and this report confirms that all the review’s recommendations have been implemented.
“Support for rough sleepers in the city and county has been boosted over the last two years, with the City Council leading bids that have secured an additional £1.1m in Government funding.
“Anyone who spots a rough sleeper on Worcester’s streets can report them via the Streetlink service on 0300 500 0914. You can also download a Streetlink app for your smartphone.”
The recommendations from the review into Mr Banfield’s death included an audit of skills and knowledge for staff in all partner agencies; implementing an alert system to better keep track of rough sleepers; and publicising how the public can raise concerns about rough sleepers.
The £1.1m of Government funding secured for Worcestershire has supported a range of initiatives to help rough sleepers.
Between July 2017 and July 2019, county-wide specialist workers engaged and supported 100 people who were at risk of rough sleeping and prevented all but one of them from doing so. Of a further 137 people who were already sleeping rough, 124 were helped into accommodation.
Extra resources to engage with entrenched rough sleepers have been provided to the Maggs Outreach And Transition Service (MOATS), which actively seeks out, engages and supports rough sleepers across Worcestershire.
The No Second Night Out scheme helps people who are new to the streets to quickly move into temporary accommodation while longer term solutions are found.
Under the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) night shelters are opened whenever temperatures fall to zero or below. Rapid Response Officers, who work outside of core hours, help people to access this and other services in severe weather conditions.
Support is also provided to help homeless people put down a deposit to get into private rented housing and to help people with mental health issues who are discharged from hospital and may be at risk of becoming homeless.
The report to next week’s Communities Committee also details progress on recommendations into the death of another rough sleeper, identified as Y, in September 2017.
These include a range of actions involving outside agencies such as the emergency services, the NHS and the County Council. Actions are on-going to implement these recommendations.
The reviews into the deaths of Mr Banfield and Y are being considered by the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board as part of a broader thematic review of rough sleeper deaths in the county over the last three years.
Anyone who spots a rough sleeper can report them to Streetlink on 0300 500 0914. The information will be passed to local services, who will find and support them.