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Rough sleepers handed vital lifeline

Rough sleepers are to be handed a vital lifeline and hope of getting off the streets permanently when a 28-bed assessment centre is officially launched.

The centre will offer rough sleepers immediate shelter from the street and a rapid assessment of their housing and support needs. Lambeth Council’s Street Outreach Team (SORT) will refer rough sleepers to the centre in Vauxhall. The council has commissioned service providers Broadway, a homelessness charity, and Housing Association L & Q to run the service.

Rough sleepers will be assessed on arrival to identify specific support and housing needs .The assessment will ensure that each individual receives support which is tailored to their needs. The service is aimed at rough sleepers and vulnerable single homeless inappropriately housed. The client group will include people with an offending history, vulnerable or exploited women and people with mental health or substance misuse issues.

Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Jim Dickson, said:

“Protecting the borough’s most vulnerable residents is the council’s top priority which is why we are committed to ending homelessness permanently in Lambeth. This new assessment centre is an innovative way of getting rough sleepers off the streets and ensuring they are given the right support and get their lives back on track.”

Chief Executive of Broadway, Howard Sinclair, said:

“Broadway is proud to be involved in this ground breaking project, which is part of our wider work to prevent homelessness in Lambeth. The project aims to get people swiftly off the streets and provides them with a thorough, rapid assessment of their needs. Our ambition is that everyone should spend as little time in the service as possible and as such it is a vital first step in helping them on their journey from street to home.”

For over a decade the numbers of people sleeping rough in Lambeth has remained low compared to all other Inner London Boroughs – usually under 25 people on any one night. We have a dedicated homelessness service at our complex needs hostel in Waterloo which  now has two on-site psychologists who can provide support to our most vulnerable and socially excluded clients. Barka, a homelessness charity which works with the council, has supported over 100 clients return to Europe to accommodating and support. And we have helped more than 200 entrenched rough sleeper turn their lives around in a way most people thought was impossible – and have all been accepted on the Greater London Authority Housing First initiative.

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