“Recent years have seen a marked reduction in the number of people sleeping rough in the city.
The 2022 count saw a further small increase in the number of people found to be rough sleeping in Birmingham on a typical night, but this shouldn’t be taken out of context. On a single night in 2018, 91 people were found bedded down, in 2019, 52, in 2020, 17 and 2021, 31.
The increase in the 2022 count from 31 to 39 is disappointing but reflects the complete lifting of covid restrictions and is in line with the situation nationally, where there has been a 26% increase.
It should also be noted that for Birmingham as the largest Local Authority in the country, while the figure for rough sleeping may appear comparatively high, when considered as a proportion of the city’s population, the rate of rough sleeping is markedly lower than many other areas.”
Ms Thompson added “Birmingham City Council is working with partners towards a future where no one is sleeping rough on the streets of this city. However, people sleeping rough have been impacted by the national housing crisis and the erosion of protections previously in place. Despite this throughout 2022 we maintained all our support and outreach services.
There are outreach workers commissioned by the City Council, working on the streets to help people sleeping rough, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and night. This includes an accommodation offer for all and the support of substance misuse workers, health workers, and youth workers. Birmingham has been awarded funding through the Rough Sleepers Initiative and other Government programmes to continue providing this support and offer a range of wellbeing and befriending services to give people a route out of the cycle of rough sleeping.
Anyone at risk should seek support to prevent them becoming homelessness. Birmingham City Council provides a number of routes for this which can be found on our website at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/homeless This includes our partnerships with organisations such as Trident Reach, Sifa-Fireside, St Basil’s and Spring Housing.
Anyone concerned about someone who may be sleeping rough should notify the team through https://www.streetlink.org.uk/ – the outreach team follow up on every notification. When temperatures hit freezing we also activate the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) and redouble our efforts to encourage anyone remaining on the streets to come into accommodation.”
Anyone wishing to support rough sleepers can do so by donating to Change into Action where all funds donated go directly to helping people off the streets.