Closer collaboration aimed at ending rough sleeping in Exeter
Published: 13 January 2023
Two key organisations have united in a new initiative aimed at helping to end rough sleeping in Exeter by the end of 2024.
Julian House and BCHA have come together to form a ‘One Team’ approach aimed at preventing and ending rough sleeping in the city. The Julian House Assertive Homeless Outreach Team and BCHA’s Housing First Team will co-locate and work together.
The Rough Sleeping Prevention Team (RSPT), which is part of Exeter City Council’s Homeless and Rough Sleeping Strategy, began operating earlier this month and will increase provision to six days a week, with additional resources to prevent people from sleeping rough. The Team is being funded by money the City Council has received from the government Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
The Julian House team regularly get out on the streets, ensuring anyone forced to sleep rough, or who is leading a street-based lifestyle, understands the options available to come inside. They help people to access supported accommodation, make a homeless application or reconnect back home alongside meeting their basic needs for food, drug/alcohol treatment and mental health support; staying alongside each person until they are ready to exit the streets, for good.
BCHA has been operating Housing First in Exeter since 2018 and has worked with Julian House and partner agencies to support people with a long history of sleeping on the streets, often with complex health and social care challenges, to move directly into their own accommodation.
James Ellison, who leads the Julian House team said: “By combining these successful services, the RSPT will take full advantage of the hugely knowledgeable and compassionate staff working in these areas, leading to improved joint working. Every person sleeping rough, or at risk, has a collaborative plan to exit the streets, with our support.”
He continued: “The difference this service makes to the lives of people sleeping rough is immeasurable. Home is everything and the sooner we can get people in, the better chance they have of getting their lives back on track and reintegrating into society.
The wider impact that the RSPT will have on communities should not be underestimated, no-one wants to see people suffering the injustice of sleeping rough and we will continue to work tirelessly together to end people’s homelessness at the earliest opportunity.”
Julie Grainge, Service Manager for BCHA’S Housing First Team said: “Whilst some level of collaborative working already exists between our services, this will increase greatly under the RSPT.
“We will be co-located at the Civic Centre, so we can share knowledge and experience and offer seamless support when someone is moving off the streets and into accommodation or is at risk of rough sleeping.”
The existing homelessness drop-in service at Co-Lab will continue, but with an additional Saturday morning outreach session.
Julie added: “We also have two new early intervention workers in the team who will be supporting people at risk of rough sleeping for the first time, as well as those who have previously experienced rough sleeping and may be at risk again because of the threat of eviction.
“It will be a wraparound service with the voices and needs of service users at its core.”
Cllr Martin Pearce, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Communities and Homelessness Prevention, said: “It’s great that our partners are going to be working more closely together to tackle rough sleeping in Exeter. Nobody should be sleeping rough on the city’s street and I hope that the closer collaboration model that ECC have commissioned will help us on the road to ending rough sleeping in Exeter.”
If you see a person sleeping rough, please report their location here: Streetlink.
The RSPT team can be contacted on 01392 284287.