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Partnership working reduces number of homeless people in borough

Homeless man with a cup of coffee

Published: Wednesday, 3rd November 2021

Homelessness in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk has significantly reduced thanks to pioneering partnership working.

In a new report to be published by the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, it is revealed that from March 2020-April 2021, 118 people were prevented from rough sleeping. And, if anyone is on the streets, help can now be offered immediately.

The finding comes as the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk publishes a report highlighting the progress of the first year of its Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy 2019-2024.

The report covers the extensive work carried out by the council and its partners during the pandemic which included concerted efforts to relocate residents from the night shelter to allow for social distancing at the beginning of the pandemic.

In addition, a vacant hostel was used to create ten beds, and the South Lynn Community Centre was adapted to cater for eight people. The government’s ‘Everyone In’ programme, launched at the start of pandemic, enabled extra funding to be allocated to a variety of initiatives, from procuring temporary homes to securing hotel places.

Further support extended to daily welfare checks, food provided by Purfleet Trust and Alive Leisure catering staff, and packs for people that included sanitisers and masks.

In addition, working with Freebridge Community Housing and Broadland Housing Group, properties were secured as temporary homes, and welfare cabins were also made available which proved to be invaluable in providing safe, secure shelter for those who would otherwise be rough sleeping.

Councillor Sam Sandell, Portfolio Holder for People and Communities said: “We are absolutely committed to supporting people who find themselves homeless in our borough.

“There are many factors that can result in someone ending up on the streets where they will be vulnerable to huge challenges such as hunger, the risk of violence, and the cold – which is even more of a concern as we enter the winter months.

“And, back in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, there was also the added danger posed by Covid-19.

“Which is why we, together with our partners strived to do everything we could to support those in our communities who were without a home. This wasn’t just about providing accommodation, it was also about offering additional support and resources that could make a difference.

“This was a huge effort and I am grateful for everyone who played a role in helping either by offering accommodation or support at such a difficult time.

“We remain thoroughly committed to offering significant support for people who find themselves homeless and helping people to get off the streets and into warm, safe accommodation.”

The work to eradicate homelessness in the borough continues. The council, working with Broadland Housing Association has secured funding to provide 23 new one-bedroom flats with support at various locations in King’s Lynn. Six of these new flats come with a high level of support for those most in need, under a ‘housing first’ model.

And, the council is working closely with its partners to find long-term solutions to help ensure people who have been given accommodation do not find themselves rough sleeping in the future.

Sophie Bates, Director of Customer and Communities at Freebridge Community Housing said: “We are committed to playing our part in tackling homelessness across King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, and it’s a key goal of our five year strategy ‘Building Better Futures’

“This commitment was even more important during the pandemic, and we are proud of how our colleagues collaborated with partners to support individuals across the borough into accommodation.

“And, because of the extra support we offered during that time, many of the individuals who were offered temporary accommodation have gone on to find their permanent home with Freebridge.”

Catherine Little, Executive Housing Director said “Having a decent, safe home is the basis for people to build our lives on. It can make the difference for relationships with family and friends, for finding and keeping work, for peace of mind and being able to see a future. It’s been brilliant to hear from new tenants living in our move-on and Housing First homes that they are able to do just this.

“Broadland is a founder member of the Homes for Cathy alliance, which aims to prevent and tackle homelessness: it’s part of our organisational purpose. The homes we’ve been able to purchase and refurbish, and the support that we can provide through joint funding bids are a really tangible measure of good partnership working in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk. We are really proud to be a part of that.”

Paula Hall, Chief Executive of Purfleet Trust said: "We are committed to providing the essential support needed to ensure that people experiencing homelessness have access to vital services that can improve health and well-being and build the skills and confidence needed to sustain their tenancy.

"With vital funding from the council, our Housing Related Support team are currently supporting 40 people; many with complex needs who are moving towards living independently but need additional support to achieve their personal goals. Without this support we know that a significant number of people would feel unable to manage their tenancy with a real risk of becoming homeless again and possibly returning to the streets; we are all working together to prevent this from happening.”

Councillor Sandell added: “It’s an absolute priority for us to help people who find themselves homeless in our borough. We will continue to work with our partners to provide a whole range of support and services that will make a difference to those individuals who sadly are without a roof over their heads.”

You can view the Homeless and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2019-2024 document on our website.

Nowhere to stay?

If anyone is worried that they have nowhere to stay tonight, please contact the council as soon as possible. The sooner they know, the more likely it is they’ll be able to see you and provide advice or support.

You can also visit the Homeless or at risk of being homeless section on our website.

Out of hours

If you need help when the council office is closed, you can call the emergency out of hours number on 01553 616601.

Concerned about someone sleeping rough

If anyone is concerned for someone sleeping rough, or is sleeping rough themself:

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