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Help for people who are homeless – Winter 2019/20

Plans to help people who sleep rough into accommodation and support services are in place in the city over the Christmas period and throughout the winter.


Cardiff uses an assertive outreach approach to supporting people off the streets and into services where they can begin to rebuild their lives. The city's Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT), which include a range of professionals with the expertise to help people with complex needs, is out on the streets seven days a week from early in the morning until late at night.


The teamincludes adrug and alcohol worker, nurses, social workers, therapeutic worker and counsellor, peer mentors and access to rapid prescribing services andis a partnership approach between the Council, Cardiff and Vale UHB and Cardiff and Vale Area Planning Board to support people to access the services they need to move away from life on the streets.


Around 69 extraspaces are also available during the coldest time of the year on top of the261 hostel places for single homeless people, 98 emergency beds and 353 supported accommodation units available throughout the year.  There is also the opportunity to open further provision to create even more spaces, if required.


The Council is keen to encourage those sleeping on the streets to come into accommodation where they can receive the help they need and the MDT will be working with individuals daily, checking on their welfare and providing support to come inside.


Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: "Provision for homeless people is constantly being reviewed to ensure services meet people's needs and this year, we've made considerable improvements to emergency cold weather provision.

"With our Ty Nos project, we've listened to clients who have told that they won't come into accommodation without their friends so we're allowing friends to move in together in groups. And we've also identified an additional 3 bedroom unit to house women, providing self- contained, femaleonly emergency provision."

Despite the availability of accommodation and services though, many people remain outside as their complex needs or traumatic experiences they have endured can be a barrier to them accessing services. In these cases, the outreach team continues to work with them to address their needs.


Cllr Thorne added: "We are having some success in reaching individuals who are the furthest away from accessing services thanks to the work of the multi-disciplinary team that is helping people address the root cause of their homelessness and it's very encouraging that levels of engagement with clients have increased hugely since the creation of this multi-agency, assertive outreach response."


This year, 135 people who were street sleeping and previously resistant to accessing housing and support, have been helped into accommodation and the number of tents, which were proving to be an additional barrier to engage with people, has reduced considerably to six.


Part of the MDT's work has been to establish diversionary activities to tackle negative street cultures and build people's skills and ability to move into independent living, through engagement into education, training and employment, and creative and therapeutic outlets. Around 300 individuals have been have been supported through the scheme taking part in activities such as art, photography and music workshops, Into Work and Money Advice workshops, coffee mornings and sports sessions.


Accommodation anddiversionary activity provision will be expanded in the New Year with the aim of reaching even more vulnerable adults.


Cllr Thorne said: "We recognised a need to change the way we deliver some of our services and I'm pleased that the new arrangements are having a positive impact on people who really need our support.


"There are still around 44 people sleeping on the streets this December but the figure has reduced significantly, compared to 87 people last year and 79 in 2017. Unfortunately, all those we help into accommodation are soon replaced by others on the streets but we will continue to do our very best to ensure these extremely vulnerable people get the help they need."