Rough sleeper first to be housed under new scheme

A man who was sleeping rough in Evesham Town Centre has become the first person in Wychavon to be housed under a new scheme to get people off the streets. The man had been sleeping in a tent on Evesham High Street on and off for about 12 months before being moved into a temporary home because of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Under the traditional system, Wychavon’s housing team would have struggled to find him permanent accommodation because of the complexity of his circumstances. But, in March the Housing First project was launched across Worcestershire. The scheme aims to provide stable, independent homes for rough sleepers with complex needs.

Rather than having to resolve issues that are a barrier to housing first, before accommodation can be accessed, Housing First provides the accommodation first. Intensive support is then provided to the individual to address the underlying causes of their homelessness and help them maintain their tenancy.

The project is being trialled for two years and is funded by money from the Government and councils across Worcestershire. As a result, the man has now been offered a permanent home with daily support on offer from the team at St Paul’s Hostel.

Wychavon’s housing team has also been able to find a home for another man who had been sleeping rough in a tent in Evesham Town Centre since November 2019, but through the existing system.

He will be offered help from the outreach staff at Maggs Day Centre.

A third individual is still sleeping rough and the housing team continues to work with them.

Cllr Christopher Day, Executive Board Member for Housing, Health and Wellbeing on Wychavon District Council, said: “I’m very pleased that just two months since Housing First was launched by Wychavon, our housing team, with the support of our partners, have been able to prove the value of this scheme by providing a life-changing opportunity for this gentleman”. Cllr Martin King, Executive Board Member with responsibility for Town Centre Revitalisation on Wychavon District Council, said: “Nobody wants to see people sleeping rough in our town centres or anywhere else in our district. People sleep rough for many reasons and we cannot force people to accept our offers of help. What we will always do though is keep offering and keep trying to help, no matter how long it takes.”

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