Successful scheme to support rough sleepers to continue

Old Bus Station Room

MK City Council is extending a contract to continue supporting former rough sleepers and ensure they don’t end up back on the streets.

Its ‘Housing First’ programme aims to get rough sleepers into accommodation and provide support to help them work through the often complex reasons they became homeless in the first place, sometimes related to relationship breakdowns, family eviction or loss of private rented accommodation. The programme has helped more than 150 people in the last three years.

MK City Council is now making a decision to approve a six month extension of the contract on 14 November. During that time, further long-term initiatives for rough sleepers will be considered.

The City Council’s provides vital services for people sleeping rough or those at risk of homelessness. Earlier this year, it opened a new shelter in Central Milton Keynes which has led to secure homes for 30 rough sleepers, with nearly 90 people using the shelter. Former rough sleepers stay for a short period before accessing further assistance.

This is the latest of multiple initiatives in recent years to support rough sleepers and help them secure a life off the streets for good. As a result, the number of people sleeping rough in the city has dropped significantly. A recent review by the team showed that 24 people were sleeping rough in Milton Keynes, which is fewer than the number of beds available through the City Council’s provision, meaning everyone needing a bed could be found one. Everyone found sleeping rough is offered accommodation and support. On this occasion only one person took up the offer but the dedicated outreach team continue to make daily rounds to offer support.

“It’s essential that we continue to provide the right level of support for people to ensure they don’t fall back onto the streets. Providing long-term support is a critical part of the work that we do and gives people a chance at living a healthy and happy life.

“No one in MK needs to be sleeping rough and our outreach team is out daily encouraging people to take up offers of accommodation. We’ll continue offering both accommodation and support to end rough sleeping for good in our city.”
- Cabinet Member for Adults, Housing and Healthy Communities, Cllr Emily Darlington