Leicester is the latest city to join the European End Street Homelessness Campaign, which seeks to identify people who are street homeless in the community so that they can be helped off the streets. At the heart of the campaign is the idea that a community must come together to solve homelessness.
“We want to be sure that we know every person experiencing homelessness in our city’ said Mark Grant, Chief Executive of Action Homeless, a charity involved in the campaign in Leicester.
“People who sleep on the streets have an average life expectancy of just 47 years, it is vital that we do everything we can to break the cycle of homelessness.”
The campaign will include an overnight street counts which will see 80 volunteers taking to the streets to locate and survey people who are sleeping out.
De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s #DMUlocal programme – which supports projects which help the public across Leicester is leading the volunteer recruitment and calling on staff and students who would like to get involved to come forward.
As well as the night-time counts, volunteers will visit day centres, hostels and accommodation projects around the city, during a Connections Week scheduled to run from 6 to 10 November, talking to people who have experienced rough sleeping.
All of the information gathered through the campaign will result in more up to date and accurate figures around the number of people who are street homeless in the city. Using this information, partners will continue work to help these individuals with an overall ambition of eradicating street homelessness in Leicester.
Mark Charlton, head of public engagement at DMU, said: “We have students and staff at De Montfort University who can bring so much to this campaign, not only during the street count, but mounting the challenge to tackle street homelessness in Leicester over the next three years. This is a project that is uniting students and staff across disciplines and we are hoping that new ideas of how we seek to end rough sleeping emerge, using the data that is gathered for maximum impact.”
A range of partners are working together on the project, The Building and Social Housing Foundation, Action Homeless, #DMUlocal, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, Leicestershire Police, The Y, Inclusion Healthcare. Leicester City Council is also a partner.
The partnership are calling for members of the public to report sightings of rough sleepers in the city, intelligence which will be used on the night of the street count, to ensure that as many rough sleepers are identified and supported as possible. Academics at DMU will be researching the data gathered and identifying ways to challenge homelessness to create impact long after the count has ended.
For more information on how to support the campaign, email Debbie Tinsley on email@example.com.