A rough sleeper hub in Liverpool provided safety and shelter for nearly 300 people during March, the city council says.
Labre House, which is at the heart of the council’s Always Room Inside campaign, offers overnight shelter to anyone who needs it, regardless of their background or circumstances.
A report from the council’s rough sleeper outreach team reveals that during the month a total of 280 people used the centre for at least one night.
On average, throughout the month the centre welcomed 86 people per night, which compares with an average of 67 people a night during December.
The majority were already known to the council and had used the centre the month before. New cases included people with no recourse to public funds, failed asylum seekers and people with no connection to Liverpool.
“These figures show that the city council and its partners are continuing to have an impact supporting people to access critical services, and on the number of people who are sleeping on the streets of Liverpool,” said the city council’s director of adult services, Martin Farran.
“We saw an increase in the number of people using Labre House during March, which is typical for the post-Christmas period, but also likely to be fuelled by changes in DWP payments, in particular the roll out of Universal Credit. We are working closely with the people who use Labre House to offer them support tailored to their individual needs with a view to getting them into more settled accommodation as quickly as possible.”
Labre House is seen as a gateway for rough sleepers to get the help they need from the council and its partners. Everyone who uses the centre is assessed to ensure they can be moved into more settled, permanent accommodation quickly.
During March, the outreach team encountered 80 people who were sleeping rough on the streets of Liverpool. The team managed to encourage 55 of these to come inside and seek help.
The biggest single reason given for people sleeping rough during March was due to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Many were also seen begging to feed their addiction.
The city council-funded Street Lifestyles Team, which works with people who are begging, has successfully encouraged 18 people off the streets and into accommodation.
“The figures show the determination and commitment from every service provider to bring all people indoors,” said David Carter, chief executive of homelessness and housing charity, the Whitechapel Centre. “We know it can take time to find the right housing and support solution that will work for each person who comes to us; Labre House provides the safety net and space while we find this solution.
“While not every person is ready to come indoors and take up offers of housing and support, we continue to provide intensive support via street outreach services; taking services out on to the streets in order to engage, motivate, support and prepare people to take the first step and come indoors.”