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Turning your Change into Action for rough sleepers

A new initiative that will help rough sleepers get the support they need is being launched in Solihull.

Change into Action - an alternative giving scheme which will help local specialist charities and street teams operating in the borough to support rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping - was launched on Thursday by Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, Cllr Alison Rolf, and Solihull BID Chief Executive, Melanie Palmer.

Change into Action gathers donations to support the specialist organisations already working with homeless people in Solihull and helps to get people off the streets and back into the community. Money donated will be used to help people with everything from overnight temporary accommodation to new clothing and training for jobs. Money will also enable organisations to trial innovative solutions to help rough sleepers and to prevent homelessness in Solihull.

 

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“Rough sleeping across the West Midlands is completely unacceptable and shames us as a region.

“The only way we are going to be able to ‘design out’ homelessness – the aim of the West Midlands Homelessness Task Force – is by facing up to our moral responsibility and working collaboratively.

“With that in mind I am pleased that Solihull Council has become the latest authority to work with the West Midlands Combined Authority and adopt the Change into Action scheme, which we first launched in Birmingham in 2017. The scheme represents an alternative way to give, with people knowing that their donation will really make a difference to the lives of those who are sleeping rough or who are at risk of doing so.

“The battle to end homelessness has been incredibly difficult, but Change into Action has been a positive and I hope we will be able to roll it out across the rest of the West Midlands in due course.”

Solihull has very few people who regularly sleep rough, however there are more people who are homeless and at risk of sleeping rough. There are also a growing number of people across the borough who beg. 

 

Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, Cllr Alison Rolf, said:

“Solihull has a multi-agency begging strategy which considers the circumstances of those presenting as homeless who beg and how the council and its partners can respond. This complements the work already in place to support homeless people in need and people who beg. As part of this strategy, Solihull has worked with people from a number of organisations, including the voluntary sector, police and local businesses, to set up Change into Action.

“Change into Action gathers donations to support the specialist organisations who already work with homeless people in Solihull, making sure that money given by the public helps to change the circumstances of rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping.”

 

Solihull BID Chief Executive, Melanie Palmer, added:

“We’re supporting Change into Action by working with local businesses and residents to publicise the services and support available for rough sleepers in the town. Four of our businesses are acting  as collection points for Change into Action – we really want to help drive this change.

“We have also recently recruited two enforcement officers who will be working with our Town Hosts and the Council to talk to people who are rough sleeping or begging about where they can get help, and disrupt and deter aggressive begging.”

 

Donations can be made online at changeintoaction.org.uk/solihull or by visiting one of the collection points which are currently at –

Sporting Barbers and Specsavers on Solihull High Street; William Hill on Station Road, Solihull; Touchwood Solihull; Asda, Parkgate shopping centre, Shirley.

 

To report and refer a rough sleeper for help, please contact StreetLink at streetlink.org.uk or call 0300 500 0914

If you think the person is in immediate danger or needs urgent care, please call 999.

 

Organisations involved in setting up Change into Action Solihull include –

  • West Midlands Combined Authority
  • Mayor of the West Midlands
  • Solihull BID
  • Solihull Council
  • Safer Solihull Partnership
  • Solihull Churches Action on Homelessness
  • Solihull Integrated Addiction Services (sias)
  • West Midlands Police

 

Picture shows Andy Street, Cllr Alison Rolf and Melanie Palmer

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