Innovative scheme to help support rough sleepers in the city launched
PUBLISHED: 17:12 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:35 20 July 2018
Copyright: Archant 2018
There is no wrong place to turn for those forced to sleep on the streets.
This is the message from Norwich City Council, as it launched a new partnership of seven local organisations, all working to support those in the city who find themselves without a roof over their heads.
The Pathways project has been launched this week, a collaboration between St Martins, Shelter, YMCA Norfolk, The Salvation Army, City Reach, The Feed and Future Projects, designed to make it easier for those in need to access the necessary support.
The project, which was commissioned by the city council in March, has recruited a variety of individuals, including health practitioners, advisors and police liaisons, who are in place to offer this support.
Kevin Maguire, the city council’s cabinet member for rough sleep, said it was designed to make sure there is “no wrong door” for rough sleepers and those with complex needs to go through.
He said: “To somebody who is a rough sleeper, they do not want to deal with lots of different people. To whoever they go, they are the entrance point to the full width and depth of the programme.
“By going to one face of the service, they can then have access to all of it and have all their needs catered to.”
The partnership, which has secured initial funding of £758,457, is led by St Martins Housing Trust.
Jan Sheldon, chief executive of the organisation, said: “The thing that pleases me the most is the visible presence.
“People quite often say they feel nothing is happening in Norwich and I think in the past we have been too discreet - delivering the services behind the scenes.
“To have people out there and the general public knowing there is support for people who are homeless, rough sleeping or at risk of homelessness excites me more than anything.”
The primary activity of the scheme will be outreach support, which will see staff offering guidance and support at ground level, engaging with vulnerable people as they encounter them on the streets.
The launch was the culmination of months of preparation and the beginning of a new approach to tackling the issue in Norwich.