12 Mar 2020

Reduction in people sleeping rough

The number of people sleeping rough on the Island has reduced significantly, according to new figures.

Eleven people were recorded as sleeping rough on the Island's streets during the government's 2019 annual count, which took place over one night in November.

This figure was verified by leading homeless charity, Homeless Link, and shows a 54 per cent reduction on 2018 when 24 people were recorded as sleeping rough.

The Isle of Wight Council said the figure had reduced further since the housing ministry's annual snapshot to five in January 2020.  

However, Councillor Clare Mosdell, Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing needs, said: "One person sleeping rough is one too many.

"Rough sleeping is the most dangerous form of homelessness; it is dangerous, traumatic, isolating and it kills. Homelessness is everyone's business but together we can end this. The journey is only just beginning."

The council has worked hard to tackle homelessness on the Island, investing more than £70,000 in the former Barton Primary School site in Newport to provide an emergency shelter for those in greatest need this winter.

It has been a leading partner in other innovative schemes including the 'Housing First' project which is designed to help rough sleepers with complex needs get off the streets and into a place they can call home.

Last month, the council was also successful in securing £288,700 from the government's rough sleeping initiative to support even more people off the streets.

Jamie Brenchley, the council's service manager for housing needs and homelessness, said: "This data release provides the evidence that what we are doing on the Island is working.

"There is still much we need to do, but together alongside our partners we are beginning to make change possible for people that have found themselves with no other options but to sleep rough on our streets." 

Rough sleeping reduced by nine per cent nationally and by four per cent in the South East. 

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Rough sleeping is the most dangerous form of homelessness. Getty Images
Rough sleeping is the most dangerous form of homelessness. Getty Images
Factfile
  • Five people were recorded as sleeping rough on the Island in January.
  • The council has worked hard to tackle homelessness on the Island.
 
Isle of Wight, UK