Harrow Council have announced new plans to ensure ‘no one left outside’ during freezing conditions and beyond.
It’s all part of a special new programme of initiatives launched by Harrow Council to support rough sleepers, offering a route back to settled accommodation. A new Rough Sleeping Hub, with five private bedrooms, provides a safe place to stay for 28 days – time to assess need, plan next steps and provide intensive personalised support on issues including mental health and addiction.
The new service also sees specialist council officers tour the borough twice a week, building rapport with rough sleepers and starting the conversations that may ultimately offer a way off the streets.
Abbs (21), the first user of the new service, said: “It was difficult growing up, I didn’t get on with my family, I moved out last year but dropped out of college and worked but I am now looking for work. I appreciate finding this temporary home, it’s great not to be struggling about worrying where I am sleeping tonight.”
Harrow Cabinet’s Housing lead, Cllr Mina Parmar, said: “Rough sleeping is a small but significant issue in our borough. During the recent November Rough Sleeper count, we recently found 3 rough sleepers plus 6 more with no recourse to funds.
“For those people who find themselves surviving on the streets, it can have a devastating impact on their lives. I am delighted to bring some welcome hampers to the residents in our newly opened Rough Sleeping Hub and meet the outreach team who work so hard to assist rough sleepers in Harrow.
“Our programme of engagement, support and accommodation is already starting to make a difference in the borough. It gives us the tools we need to tackle this issue, making our commitment to eradicating rough sleeping in Harrow a very real proposition – we want no one to be left outside, particularly in this freezing spell.”
Last year, Harrow Council acquired eight one-bedroom flats through a scheme called Housing First, which provides a stable, independent home and intensive personalised support to rough sleepers.
In the programme, the Council are working with the Thames Reach’s Rapid Response, a London-wide team and 19 outreach members who search the streets at night, particularly in response to any Streetlink reports.
The council’s programme is integrated with the borough’s charitable and community sectors, with many local organisations contributing significantly to its success.
Partners woking on the project in Harrow include FirmFoundation, a local homelessness charity offering day services, including meals and showers; London Community Kitchen; Harrow Street Pastors; WDP (substance misuse service) and the NHS’s Rough Sleeping Mental Health Team. Support is offered by EACH, experts in engagement with clients from ethnic minorities.
To report someone sleeping rough in Harrow. Please give as much information as you can about the location of the person, their description, and what time you saw them.
Contact StreetLink via their their website www.streetlink.london, Android App or Apple App, or helpline 0300 500 0914.
You can also use Harrow’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Referral webform or contact Harrow’s Homelessness Prevention & Solutions team on 020 8424 1093 (also connects to the Out-of-Office Emergency Duty Team). In an emergency dial 999, if the person is in immediate danger or needs urgent care.
Harrow Cabinet’s Housing lead, Cllr Mina Parmar, said “My advice for anyone concerned that they may become homeless is to contact the council as soon as possible. We’re able to offer practical support that can really make a difference. Right now, we’re offering cash grants for those in privately rented accommodations that need help to clear arrears and get back on track.
“We are looking for landlords across West London willing to lease their property through our Help2let scheme – we offer cash incentives, rent guarantees and help with health and safety certification. Help2let – 020 8424 1605 or firstname.lastname@example.org”