On 10th March 2020, Street Support Action Group Southampton is holding another homelessness summit in the city, hosted at Solent University. The partnership feels that another conference is vital to update their partners on progress, celebrate the successes of the last year and continue to promote working together.
Since the last conference in April 2019, there have been many positives to celebrate, the churches opened up their doors to rough sleepers for 28 nights, and everyone that attended the shelter is now in alternative accommodation. Southampton City Council has been given £900,000 in funding to continue the vital rough sleeping initiative work and paired with this, rough sleeper numbers have reduced from 29 in November 2018 to 15 in November 2019 according to council figures. Also, the charity Dentaid has pledged to provide free dental care for homeless people in Southampton, and a pilot run of this at Above Bar Church on 23rd January went very well. These successes show how crucial this work is and Street Support Action Group Southampton want to share this by inviting even more partners to join and help them.
Paul Woodman, leader of City Life Church says; ‘’Our partnership to tackle homelessness has continued to gather momentum. This summit will pull together dozens of partners committed to our shared vision that Southampton is a City where no-one needs to sleep rough or beg.”
At the summit, Liz Slater from Southampton City Council and Trevor Pickup from Society of St James will discuss new houses and new revenue, the street count, move-on accommodation, welcome bags, alternative giving scheme and the churches winter shelter.
One of the Winter Shelter volunteers, Sanjay Mall says; “One of the things the guests really enjoyed apart from the safety of a warm bed was sitting around a table, chatting and having lovely home-cooked food – just felt like being with a family.”
Guests at the conference will include all partners of the Street Support Action Group which consists of City Life Church, Southampton City Council, GO! Southampton, Southampton Voluntary Services, Society of St James and Two Saints. Attendees will also include colleagues from the Street Support Network, the NHS and the police.
For Street Support Action Group Southampton, these conferences are important as they aim to achieve increased awareness, extra support, continued funding and these all contribute towards reduced or no rough sleeping in Southampton. We want to inspire other cities to keep their partnerships talking.
If you would like to attend the conference, you can register for the event on EventBrite.