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"I finally have a place to call home" - former rough sleepers share their stories as people reminded how they can help

Wiltshire Council's Rough Sleepers Team is currently working with 83 people, helping them through the difficult times and putting support in place so they can move into their own permanent home

Published 7 February 2023

Picking up the keys to your own home is a routine move for most people.

But for those who have been sleeping rough or homeless for some time, the key to your own place, the safe space you can call home, is a major step.

Wiltshire Council's Rough Sleepers Team is currently working with  83 people, helping them through the difficult times and putting support in place so they can move into their own permanent home. From April last year they have worked with 270 helping provide support.

One of those people moving on is James. James has made significant steps in his recovery journey after a number of years sleeping rough. He was initially placed into hotel accommodation and made to feel safe and supported by the Rough Sleeper Team to ensure he didn't return to the streets.

Just before Christmas James moved into one of our Housing Led properties and finally had a place to call home. Sometimes the journey only starts once someone moves into accommodation, after suffering the traumas of living on the streets. James will now receive ongoing support from the Rough Sleeper Team & other professional partners in reaching his goals - Well done James, it is inspiring the personal strength you have shown

He said simply: "I'm very lucky to have had all the support and to finally have a place I can call home."

Richard has just moved into his own flat and wanted to thank the team: "I'd like to thank the Rough Sleeper Team because without their help I wouldn't have been able to do any of this on my own."

Richard was supported after the Rough Sleeper Team received a Streetlink alert last year from a member of the public.

They completed an early morning outreach and found Richard sleeping rough after he lost his accommodation. Richard was supported into one of the rough sleeper accommodation units. The Rough Sleeper Tenancy Sustainment Officer continued to provide ongoing holistic support and helped Richard to focus on his recovery journey after sleeping rough. Richard has now successfully managed to move into his own home and is now starting full-time employment.

Cllr Phil Alford, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: "I'd like to wish Richard and James all the best as they move forward and on with their lives. Our teams should be proud of the difference they have made to help both turn their lives around. We are never complacent as we know there is always more we need to do, and we will continue to fund and support those who need help.

"I would also encourage the public to help us help people sleeping rough by letting us know through Streetlink. Richard's story is an example that a simple report can mean the right actions to help and provide a better future for people who need help."

If people see someone on the streets they can provide details to Streetlink (opens new window), which connects rough sleepers with local services that can support them. Streetlink will provide the council with details so officers can talk to the rough sleeper, help them find a warm place to stay and offer ongoing support.

People are also encouraged to donate to local charities in Wiltshire, which directly help those in need and which are mentioned below.

SWEP is currently triggered in Wiltshire. Wiltshire Council triggers it's Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) when the Met Office confirms temperatures will reach 0 degrees or below for more than three consecutive nights. During SWEP people can also call our Housing Solutions Service on 0300 456 0106 during office hours and our Emergency Duty Service on 0300 456 0100 thereafter if they are concerned about someone sleeping rough.

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