The collective initiative to tackle rough sleeping in Southampton, which started in January this year has reached a significant milestone with the signing of the Southampton Rough Sleeping and Begging Charter on 24 September. Charities, faith groups, and civic chiefs have been working together and have all pledged to end rough sleeping in Southampton, after signing a charter promising to help those affected at a special event in Central Baptist Church.
Key points in the document include calling on local businesses, groups, and residents to work together for the street homeless in the city; coordinating support and help given by those groups; creating more bed spaces; developing an alternative giving scheme; and ensuring anyone sleeping rough, or is homeless, is treated with respect and dignity. It was signed by partnership members, including Itchen MP Royston Smith and charity heads.
The full charter is available here:
Cabinet member for homes and communities, Councillor Satvir Kaur, said: “Homelessness and rough sleeping is a growing national issue. Here in Southampton, we believe no-one should need to sleep rough or beg, and work hard to prevent, support and enable those that find themselves in often helpless situations.
“This charter is an important and exciting step forward towards seeking a Southampton solution to tackling rough sleeping, based on strong partnership working where everyone has a part to play. With lots of factors creating homelessness, I am pleased we as a city are coming together to try to address it.”
City Life Church leader, Paul Woodman, said: “Our vision is for Southampton to be a city where no one needs to sleep rough or beg. To achieve this, we are inviting others to join with us in tackling the problem.
“Too often, we are duplicating services or missing gaps that exist, our aim with the Southampton charter is to encourage better co-ordination in this area.”