In the run up to this year’s World Homeless Day (Sunday 10 October), Solihull Change into Action (CiA) celebrated two years of raising money to help provide additional support services for rough sleepers and homeless people at risk of sleeping rough.
Thanks to the generosity of local residents, businesses, religious organisations and voluntary groups, Solihull CiA has raised nearly £60,000. It has awarded grants to local services which have helped people with accommodation, furnishings, hot meals plus emergency food and starter packs.
This year Solihull also achieved a 100% response rate with Streetlink – the national system for people to report rough sleepers and ask for help – and our lowest annual count for rough sleepers.
Cllr Tony Dicicco, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said:
“The last annual rough sleeper count – which we carried out on behalf of the government in November - showed that we had one rough sleeper that night, a decrease of five on the previous year.
“This was due to both the hard work of our outreach workers who support and encourage rough sleepers to move into safe accommodation, and the additional emergency funding for emergency accommodation provided by the government during the pandemic.
“It was also helped considerably by local residents using Streetlink - the national reporting system – to tell us where they saw people sleeping rough and our outreach workers achieving an incredible 100% response rate, despite the very difficult circumstances of working during the pandemic. For me, this shows what we can achieve when we all work together.
“There remain a considerable amount of people who become homeless through things like the breakdown of families and relationships, domestic abuse and mental ill health. And there also some people sleeping rough who aren’t ready to make the move into accommodation. Our outreach team continues to help and support them until they feel able to do so and we still need local resident to help with reporting so that we can continue to help.”
Cllr Alison Rolf, Cabinet Member for Stronger and Safer Communities, added:
“As well as reporting people who are rough sleeping so that they can access support, our residents, local religious organisations, businesses and voluntary groups have supported our campaign to turn change – and big donations too! – into additional action and support for people who sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough. The money raised has helped provide additional support such as emergency accommodation, furnishings for tenancies and food.
“As well as asking for your continued support, I would also like to encourage groups who work with homeless people not to be bashful about applying for grants. These can be for the sort of support I’ve already outlined, or they could be for something more specific that could make a difference to somebody homeless.
“Please continue to support Change into Action and raise money to directly support people with appropriate help. If anyone is concerned about a person sleeping rough, please call Solihull Community Housing or make a report to Streetlink.”
Since Solihull Change into Action was launched in September 2019 it has raised £59,130
Change into Action is a partnership between Solihull Council, Solihull BID, the Mayor of the West Midlands and the West Midlands Combined Authority aimed at designing out homelessness within this region. All donations are kindly received and held by Solihull Churches Action on Homelessness (SCAH) before being awarded to local services working with rough sleepers or those at risk of sleeping rough.
To donate to Change into Action please visit – https://changeintoaction.org.uk/solihull/
To apply for a grant from Change into Action please visit - https://changeintoaction.org.uk/solihull/about/
If you see anyone sleeping rough please contact StreetLink via https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ or the mobile app ‘StreetLink’ from Apple iTunes / Google Play store, or phone : 0300 500 0914.
To request advice and assistance if faced with homelessness and in need of emergency temporary accommodation, please contact Solihull Community Housing on 0121 717 1515 (24/7).
If you think someone is in immediate danger always call 999.