'No Second Night Out pledge' to rough sleepers

27 Dec 2012
by Neil Skinner

Agencies tackling homelessness in Nottingham are set to pledge that there will be 'No Second Night Out' for anyone discovered sleeping rough.

Framework and Nottingham City Council, in conjunction with national charity Homeless Link, are committed to making Nottingham a No Second Night Out city.

This means that no one will live on the streets of Nottingham and no individual arriving on the streets for the first time will sleep out for more than one night. Other key partners are also invited to support this initiative by signing up to this pledge.

Nottingham is already highly effective at dealing with rough sleeping, with the City Council and Framework working in partnership with local churches and voluntary organisations to keep the numbers of rough sleepers in the city as low as seven at the last official count in November compared to ten last year, at a time when nationally there has been a 23% increase in rough sleeping.

However, national charity Crisis warns that homelessness is likely to worsen as the impacts of the recession intensify and the Government's radical welfare and housing reforms take effect. By committing to the No Second Night Out objectives, resources and intelligence can be pooled to increase the opportunity to deliver improved, co-ordinated homelessness services, even in difficult economic circumstances.

The pledge commits agencies to:

  • Supporting one point of contact for reporting rough sleepers - a single freephone number, 0800 066 5356, for the whole of the city
  • Using the Homelessness Prevention Gateway assessment and referral methodology for all rough sleepers data so we have consistent quality in our data
  • Sharing learned good practice with local partners and in the region with other councils
  • Ensuring a coordinated approach to rough sleeper estimates and counts in the city through the Strategy Implementation Group
  • Delivering a Rough Sleepers case conference approach to creating innovative personalised opportunities for entrenched rough sleepers to leave street sleeping behind
  • Maintaining outreach services across the city, ensuring that any rough sleeper in the city can be reached and offered a service
  • Co-ordinating Cold Weather provision and revising our cold weather plans annually with partners
  • Ensuring that the right support is given at the right time including a timely offer of reconnection for those rough sleepers who move into Nottingham and who's support and connections are from outside the City area.
  • The City Council has commissioned Framework Housing Association to deliver street outreach services, and to coordinate responses to Rough Sleeping, alongside its Housing Aid Service. A bid has also been lodged by the city for £124,000 of Homelessness Transition Funding which will help to deliver some of the No Second Night Out objectives with a coordinated approach to tackling new rough sleepers.

Portfolio Holder for Housing, Adults and Community Sector, Councillor Dave Liversidge, said: "Nottingham is acknowledged nationally for its effective approach to tackling homelessness, and that is recognised by Homeless Link in agreeing to us becoming a No Second Night Out city.

"We believe it is better to act early and prevent rough sleeping where possible, which we are doing successfully. But the ongoing effects of the recession and the likely impact of the Government's housing and welfare reforms could see more people becoming homeless and so it is more important than ever that everyone involved in dealing with this issue in the city works closely together to prevent further harm and the descent into rough sleeping as a lifestyle.

"I urge all local organisations, from the public, private and voluntary sector, to sign our No Second Night Out pledge to help us make rough sleeping a thing of the past in Nottingham."

Framework Chief Executive Andrew Redfern added: "This marks the next phase of an ongoing campaign to tackle rough sleeping in Nottingham and elsewhere.  It comes at a time when homelessness is rising across the country, so the challenge we face is considerable.

"We will meet it by working in ever closer partnership with the City Council, the health community, faith and other organisations who share our vision. I am delighted to join Councillor Liversidge in making this public commitment, and in calling on everyone who cares about this issue to help us end rough sleeping in Nottingham.  It is an ambitious but achievable aim."  

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