Birmingham City Council has been criticised this week for the number of homeless people without overnight accommodation. This is despite claiming there is enough space for them in temporary shelters.
Councillor Rob Pocock (Lab), speaking about the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee meeting that took place earlier this week, said:
“At yesterday’s Scrutiny Committee we pressed City Council officers for an absolute assurance that anyone and everyone identified on the streets as a rough sleeper, was offered sheltered overnight accommodation within a day of being identified on the street. We were told this was so and also that there is enough capacity in the temporary accommodation lists to provide a bed for all who choose one. Yet we still see scores of people in sleeping bags and boxes in the shop doorways of our local centres.”Councillor Rob Pocock, Community Campaigner, Sutton Vesey Ward
“Clearly there are factors such as mental health and addiction that are leading people to opt to be out on the street even now in the worst weather of the winter. It is a shocking fact. And whatever the causes, it shows more needs to be done to find ways of getting people to choose a life of shelter and support rather than believing that their best option is to dice with the elements on freezing days like this”
The predicted snowfall
The West Midlands is to be affected by the two weeks worth of snowfall as predicted by the Met Office.
The below-freezing conditions will be particularly dangerous for rough sleepers as the temperatures are set to plummet across the UK over the next few days.
What are charities doing?
Homeless charity St Basils focus their support on young people aged 16-25. In a statement from Barrie Hodge, head of fundraising and communications, he said:
“We are working with Birmingham City Council in providing outreach to those in need. We have two workers who are tasked with finding young people who are rough sleeping, find them suitable accommodation and to provide support to prevent further homelessness. This is something that is ongoing, regardless of the weather.”Barrie Hodge, St Basils
St Basils have said that if anyone sees a homeless person who needs support, particularly in the snowy conditions, they have asked that you visit their website for further guidance.
You can also text NEED ST BASILS to 62277 for free.