Burnley Council insists help and support is available for homeless people in the town
“We will help anyone who comes to us and says they are homeless.”
That is the message from Burnley Council who said nobody should be sleeping rough in the borough due to the amount of support available.
The council said it had a comprehensive range of services to prevent and relieve homelessness and was working with partners to provide advice and support needed by society’s most vulnerable members.
The response comes after Pastor Mick Fleming, who runs Church on the Street in Burnley, told the Express last week that more needed to be done to tackle homelessness in the town as he calls for a night shelter to be opened.
Coun. Ivor Emo, the council’s executive member responsible for housing, said: “No-one has to be sleeping rough in our borough because there is a wide range of help and support available to anyone who is homeless to help get them off the streets, find them a bed for the night and to give them a hot meal and drink, as well as finding a long-term solution to their problems.
“We’d urge anyone who knows someone who is homeless, or who come across them, to get them to contact the council and ask for our help. They can come to our contact centre and speak to our housing staff and we’ll provide the appropriate help and advice.
“There is help out there for those who are genuinely in need.
“What we can’t do is make people take up that support or advice and, in some cases, people choose not to accept the help available.”
A spokesman for the council said:“Burnley Council works within the national homeless legislation to prevent and relieve homelessness in our borough. We carry out that duty of care in a number of ways. Every person faces different challenges and individual circumstances and we try to work to meet those.
“If a person approaches us and is threatened with homelessness, for example they have received a notice from their landlord, we will work with them to enable them to remain in their home.
“If someone contacts us and says they are homeless, we will first look at where their last settled accommodation was and see if we can work with them to get them back into that property.
“If we can’t do this, we look at finding them temporary accommodation. Depending on circumstances we will place them somewhere until secured settled accommodation can be found, or we will offer advice and support to find suitable accommodation.”
Since July 2019 the council has funded the post of a rough sleeper navigator, based at the Calico Gateway project in Burnley which, to date, has housed 19 homeless people off the street.
“We have recently been successful in bidding for additional monies to employ a second navigator to work in the town from April 2020,” said the spokesman.
“They co-ordinate care and support services to assist people to move away from living on the streets.
“The main aim is to find someone a permanent home, but the navigator will also support the individual in their recovery to improve their health and wellbeing, find employment, undertake training, develop budgeting skills, cultivate positive social circles and be better equipped to maintain their accommodation and independence and avoid returning to the street.”
The council also said it had been successful in accessing money through the cold weather fund, which has allowed for the implementation of Severe Weather Emergency Protocol from January through to April to help provide extra support through the coldest time of the year.
This has provided six additional beds at the Gateway service which has been specifically designed to deliver services that will improve people’s health and wellbeing.
SWEP enables people to attend in the evening where they are provided with food, showers, clean clothes and a bed for the night. In the morning they are provided with breakfast – while a referral is completed for a room in the project when one becomes available.
“If the client is 16 to 21 years old, we refer into Homelessness Awareness and Prevention Initiative who will work with the person to either help them return to the family home through mediation or assist them to move into supported housing,” said the council spokesman.
“Anyone aged 18 and over can be referred to Emmaus, a 24-room supported housing scheme in Burnley which supports people by providing meaningful work, training, support and accommodation.
“The council works with Calico Homes, who help people with complex needs through Gateway. Gateway provides opportunities for vulnerable and homeless people in our community to develop their skills and employability, and get the support they need to move on to permanent accommodation.
“All services are accessible to the most vulnerable people in our community who are ready to make positive changes to improve their lives but who are unable to find the support they need elsewhere due to their complex needs.
“Gateway residents can access a range of essential services and intensive support from high skilled staff who are on site 24 hours a day.
“The council also works closely with many landlords who accept the council’s Bond Scheme, to allow people to access private rented accommodation. We can also help apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment through the council’s housing benefit team to assist someone into private rented accommodation. We also assist with applying for social housing.
“The council offers services for people who need help in getting food, accessing benefits and applying for furniture and white goods such as a cooker and fridge when they have obtained a tenancy.”
Burnley’s rough sleeper navigator can be contacted on either [email protected] or 01527 587157.
Referrals can be made through www.streetlink.org.uk. This site sends an alert with the details provided to the local authority for the area in which a homeless person has been seen.