Bedford Borough Council Rough Sleepers Image:  AdobeStock_80820688

There are a third fewer people sleeping rough in Bedford Borough than there were one year ago

Increasing levels of rough sleeping have been a national concern, with figures showing that the number of people rough sleeping has more than doubled in recent years. The latest figures have shown a national decrease of 2% in the number of people rough sleeping compared to the year before.

Bedford Borough has seen 33% decrease in the number of people sleeping rough.

Every year, Bedford Borough Council and partners carry out a Rough Sleeper Count as part of a national exercise. This aims to give an accurate view of how many people are sleeping rough in the Borough.

This Count was carried out in November 2018, and showed that 51 people were sleeping rough in Bedford Borough that night, compared to 76 in November 2017.

Annual Count Shows Fewer People Sleeping Rough in Bedford Borough Image: Bedford Borough Council

Cllr Anthony Forth, portfolio holder for Adult Services and Operational Housing, said:

“This reduction in the numbers of people sleeping rough on our streets is very welcome. It is fantastic to hear the success stories of individuals who have accepted help and support, and have been turning their lives around.

“But we are not complacent. One person sleeping rough on our streets is one person too many, and we will continue to work with partners across the Borough to provide support, accommodation and help to individuals who need it.”

Borough has worked with partners in supporting those rough sleeping

In working with partners including SMART and the King’s Arms Project, the Council has been able to support ongoing outreach teams to ensure those sleeping rough are contacted regularly and offered help.

There is also a range of accommodation for vulnerable people and those rough sleeping across the Borough, including Clarence House; a complex needs and supported housing project, hostel provision, and Bedford Nightshelter.

Outreach teams have already supported 12 people off the streets and into long-term accommodation. A number of rough sleepers have also been supported into temporary accommodation including 8 people moved off the streets and into accommodation provided by our partners ‘The Kings Arms Project’, with intense support to find employment and long-term accommodation.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said:

“It’s encouraging that things are going in the right direction, but it’s vital this continues. Alongside excellent local charities and other partner organisations and their staff and volunteers, we’ll keep working to help people get off the streets and stay off the streets.”

If you are aware of someone sleeping rough report their location and any details to Bedford’s Rough Sleeper Street Outreach Partnership through the national rough sleeping report line at www.streetlink.org.uk.

Anyone sleeping rough in the Borough should to go to the Prebend Day Centre and speak to the staff there to get support.