Since the start of the pandemic, the council’s homelessness team has stepped up its patrols of rough sleeper hotspots in the area, to remind anyone they come across of the danger they’re in by refusing the offer of shelter.
The support available to rough sleepers all year round includes access to a range of accommodation, specialist support including health and wellbeing services, as well as one-to-one support via community service provider Calico. The council also works with social agencies and faith groups to give individuals the help they need to turn their lives around.
Once in accommodation, rough sleepers are provided with the essential food supplies and any practical equipment they might need to reduce the likelihood of them returning to the streets.
Behind the scenes, work continues to nip potential cases of homelessness in the bud, with a team on standby to help anyone in danger of losing their homes to resolve their housing issues or find alternative accommodation.
Councillor Caroline Jackson, Cabinet member for homelessness and housing, said: “The fantastic work being undertaken by the council and its partners to support and house rough sleepers has been tremendously successful. We are in a better position now than ever of ridding the district of homelessness for good.
“There will always be the danger though of former rough sleepers returning to the city centre to socialise or beg for money. It is important therefore that people refrain from offering money to those they think are homeless, so they have little reason to linger there.
“Offering money and food also poses a risk of spreading the virus, especially with the arrival of a new strain which is spreading faster than previous ones.”
Donate via Lancaster District Street Aid
Anyone wanting to donate money to give local homeless people a real chance of turning their lives around, can do so online via Lancaster District Street Aid at www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/streetaid.
Donations via the scheme generate a pot of funding that individuals can apply for, with assistance from their supporting organisation, and includes provision of furniture and other home essentials, help to pay for hair appointments, education/training courses, clothing for job interviews, transport to interviews/places of work and to search for employment.
Anyone worried about someone who might be rough sleeping and not known to the council, or in danger of becoming homeless themselves, can call the council on 01524 582257 during office hours or 01524 67099 outside office hours and at weekends. Alternatively you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be in touch.
Last updated: 20 January 2021