‘Help for homeless’ scheme to end in April

7 March 2019

A scheme to help the homeless has failed to provide people with accommodation, a councillor has claimed.

Jim Steinke, cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety said: “It seems they would prefer to stay out on the streets. Sheffield is a very generous place in terms of students. You can make a fair bit of money from begging but it’s mostly money being spent, not money being saved.”

The Housing First Scheme was aimed to provide those living in hostels and on the streets with a place to stay.

Steinke said: “We tried to provide intensive support but, to be honest, there wasn’t a lot of people applying for it.”

“In the end, most people decided they would rather go back to where they were before. We felt it wasn’t working.”

Sheffield City Council spent £350,000 on this scheme which was launched in 2017.

Statistics from the City Council show that the number of homeless households in Sheffield has been fairly stable over the last few years.

Last November there were 26 people who identified as sleeping rough.

Compared to other cities, Sheffield has a low figure.

Councillor Steinke says it is disappointing how the number have increased from the reported amount of 17 rough sleepers in November 2017.

This figures fluctuate on a monthly basis, but on average, there are around 20-25 rough sleepers at the moment.

Mr Steinke said: “We are trying to do the best we can. I think there are other areas we need to work on as well. We need to focus more on specific accommodation for homeless women.”

“Women are often quite vulnerable being in mixed accommodation.”

The City Council has been discussing investments in a women’s only accommodation with The Salvation Army.

Councillor Steinke said: “We could always do more to help, but giving them money isn’t the best way. I always discourage people to give money, it doesn’t support them.”

He added: “Something we’ve been talking about is investing in temporary and immediate accommodation for when people become homeless. This would allow them to move in quite quickly while we work with them to move into their tenancy.”

“It’s not like a long term hostel, it’s a short term solution. For example, let’s say it’s someone’s first night out, we could put them up in temporary accommodation.”

Although the City Council has decided not to continue the Housing First scheme, Sheffield still offers additional support for the homeless, including the Cathedral Archer Project and the Salvation Army.

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