Bassetlaw District Council is looking to get rough sleepers off the streets for good this winter

As temperatures start to drop below freezing, Bassetlaw District Council will be working to get rough sleepers off the street with an improved Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP).

By Sally Outram
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 2:40 pm

Previously, emergency accommodation in Bassetlaw has only been available on a night by night basis.

So that more rough sleepers can get off the streets permanently, Bassetlaw District Council is to take a new approach that will provide them with support with the issues that have led them to sleeping rough, and short term accommodation in council owned properties in Worksop and Retford.

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Councillor Steve Scotthorne, Cabinet Member for Housing at Bassetlaw District Council.

A requirement of accepting these properties is that people must be prepared to work with the Council’s Housing Needs Team and be willing to undertake a full package of support from agencies such as the Street Outreach Team, drug and alcohol support charity Change Grow Live, and other health professionals.

This also includes creating a Personalised Housing Plan that will provide a pathway to permanently ending their rough sleeping.

Councillor Steve Scotthorne, cabinet member for housing at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “We’ve seen an increase of rough sleepers on our streets this year, which is a worrying thought as we approach winter and a drop in temperatures overnight.

“Over the last 18 months, shared accommodation has not always been appropriate because of COVID-19. There is no quick fix to the issues that rough sleepers face, but we hope that this new approach will help those who genuinely want to turn their lives around, and start a new future away from the streets.”

He added: “Giving food, clothes and money directly to rough sleepers is not the best way to help, and can do more harm than good.

"Residents may think that they are doing the right thing, but helping this way only enables the rough sleeping cycle to continue and fails to encourage people to address problems such as committing crimes, violent and threatening behaviour, drug and alcohol addiction, mental health difficulties and poor health.”

Rough sleepers who agree to this support package will be provided with a property for a short period of time, which will allow them to adjust to their new way of life, and will be supported into more settled, permanent accommodation.

If you would like to help, you can donate food parcels to Bassetlaw Food Bank, or donate unwanted furniture and clothes to local charities.