On October 10, World Homeless Day, people who have been homeless and many people across BCP – statutory, voluntary, the wonderful church and community activities and those in the business sector – gathered to celebrate the launch of the Homelessness Reduction Board. In order to make sustained, positive change, working more effectively by bringing together the power of each organisation and people who have been homeless is key. It was encouraging to see how many people attended the launch to show their support in wanting to help people facing hidden or street homelessness.
Representatives were invited to identify which of the eight action groups they could be involved with; what the next steps are and how each will play a role in reducing the number of people rough sleeping across BCP. Many ideas were discussed such as looking at ways to expand accommodation move on space; seeking to find apprenticeships, training and employment opportunities; increasing the capacity of the Healthbus and creating a new co-produced homelessness strategy for the collaboration.
The challenge now is for the board is to agree which pieces of work will take priority and resources, so that in 9-12 months, there will be a clear change and people who are rough sleeping and homeless have a better chance of staying out of or getting out of crisis.
Alistair Doxat-Purser, Chief Executive of Faithworks Wessex says “The launch of the Homelessness Reduction Board was more than a bit of governance. It was our chance to stand shoulder to shoulder so that “my neighbour”, every one of them, has somewhere safe to call “home” tonight. Now we must turn words into action – the jigsaw pieces are all there, like Street Support Network and ChangeForGood. This is the moment when we need all of us who lead in our conurbation to stand together to make sure those pieces all join up!”