THE NUMBER of people sleeping rough in the district is the lowest since records began.
The official annual rough sleeper count by Stratford District Council, which took place in early November, recorded six rough sleeps. This was down from ten reported in 2018 and 17 the previous year. It was also the lowest since the count began in 2010.
The council provides an estimate based on information from meeting with various support agencies, including P3, the police and Change Grow Live (CGL), to go through the names of all known rough sleepers who have been verified as being outside on the typical night chosen.
This year also included a spotlight count carried out in the early hours by P3’s street outreach team.
District spokeswoman Coun Jo Barker said: “The district council is pleased to report the lowest number of rough sleepers in its area since the reporting of annual figures to the government started in 2010. The council has been working hard with partner agencies to tackle the issue and the drop in numbers by almost two-thirds reflects the enormous amount of positive work that has been done.
“However, there is still more to do. We know the government wishes to end rough sleeping by 2027 and the council is committed to working to achieve this.
“Earlier in 2019, the council successfully bid for funding from the government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative, and has recently recruited a coordinator who will be working on developing a rough sleeper strategy for the district. The coordinator is also working on analysing how and why individuals end up on the streets, and developing ways to work more preventatively to stop the flow onto the streets.
“The Council and its partners are committed to supporting those who do end up rough sleeping. The council and P3 continue to run the Stratford Link Project, a drop in support service for rough sleepers, which regularly engages with those on the streets to offer help and assistance.”
All local authorities have to submit an annual figure to central government indicating the numbers of people sleeping rough in their area on a single ‘typical’ night, which this year was Wednesday November 6. The figure is then independently verified by Homeless Link before being submitted to the government.