Support available for people experiencing rough sleeping

Support available for people experiencing rough sleeping

Milton Keynes City Council is encouraging members of the public to share information about people experiencing rough sleeping to ensure they can get the right help.

As part of its commitment to ending rough sleeping for good, the city council is raising awareness of the multiple avenues of support available for people on the streets. Working with the MK Homeless Partnership, the city council has rolled out a number of initiatives in recent years to support people experiencing rough sleeping and help to secure a life off the streets. As a result, the number of people sleeping rough in the city has dropped, leaving a few entrenched rough sleepers who are visited daily and offered support by an outreach team.

Members of the public can alert the city council to anyone they see sleeping rough via Street Link. This notifies the city council and allows colleagues to visit the individual to offer accommodation and connect them to vital services.

The city council opened a shelter for rough sleepers in April 2022 which has helped more than 500 people so far. Located at the Old Bus Station in the city centre, the shelter provides overnight accommodation and support services for up to 19 people at a time who would otherwise be sleeping rough. Council colleagues and partners are onsite to provide essential support, and the space also includes shower and kitchen facilities.

Milton Keynes City Council is also reminding local people that while begging is often seen as linked to rough sleeping, it’s not always the case, and no one needs money to get into the shelter as it’s a free service. By giving money to people on the street, it may be doing more harm to that individual than good. Instead, anyone wishing to donate should do so to a charity such as Shelter or using one of the Tap to Donate machines that are situated at various points across Central Milton Keynes.

People experiencing homelessness for different and often very complex reasons. It may be related to relationship breakdowns, family eviction, addiction, or the loss of private rented accommodation. The city council’s dedicated support team provides a vital service for people sleeping rough and those at risk of homelessness.

“We are determined to end rough sleeping in the city for good. While our outreach team is aware of and working with the few people who haven’t accepted our support yet, we welcome feedback from local people if they spot someone sleeping rough. It may be the case that it’s their first night on the street and this information means we can step in and ensure they get help straight away.”
- Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Communities, Cllr Donna Fuller