Leading homelessness charity stages rough sleeping conference in Mansfield

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Will Britain ever see an end to rough sleeping? This and other important questions will be debated by a panel of experts at a conference hosted by leading homelessness charity Framework on FRiday at Mansfield Library.

Framework, which is at the forefront of the fight against rough sleeping in Nottinghamshire, will host the special impact briefing - open to the public - from 12.45pm.

The event, which takes place in the same week as World Homeless Day, is an opportunity for Framework – one of the largest organisations of its type in the country – to share current trends and best practice in its fight against rough sleeping.

Framework, which has more than 40 years’ experience of helping people who have reached the very bottom of society, has assembled a panel of experts to take part in the discussion. [see below]

Peter Radage, Framework’s Service Director for Homelessness and Housing, explained: “Rough sleeping is dangerous and potentially deadly. People who are street homeless are at greatly increased risk of serious ill-health, substance misuse, mental health problems and violent attack.

“With the benefit of experience Framework has developed a tried and tested approach that not only tackles the symptoms of rough sleeping but also works to resolve its causes. By taking an integrated approach and working closely with partner agencies such as the police, local authorities and the NHS, we are delivering results that we are very proud of.

These results have been made possible with considerable central and local government investment, which has helped Framework to effectively tackle a spike in rough sleeping caused by the economic downturn. By expanding the scope and efficiency of its Street Outreach Work – separate teams are now working in Nottingham and Lincolnshire – the charity is now better able to locate and help those most in need.

In the first six months of this year Framework engaged with a total 167 actual and potential rough sleepers in Nottingham alone – a 7 % increase on the same period last year and a 27 per cent increase compared to 2010/11. It is now able to help more of them gain access to treatment, accommodation and development opportunities. It also helps to relocate rough sleepers from other areas of the UK and even – with the help of new multi-lingual staff – to repatriate a growing number of foreign rough sleepers, who are entitled by law to a much diminished level of support.

Peter added: “We believe that our approach to tackling the problem of rough sleeping is delivering real and tangible results. There are many things we still have to learn but I can honestly say that Nottingham has probably the most developed service response outside of London, where the majority of resources go. We believe this approach to tackling rough sleeping, which is bucking national trends, provides an effective model for other organisations to follow. This briefing will provide everyone involved with an opportunity to discuss in public what all too often remains a hidden problem.”

The event, which is open to interested members of the public, will feature a specially selected audience of interested groups including stakeholders, partners, opinion formers and public sector agencies.

Panellists include: Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link; Andrew Redfern, Chief Executive of Framework; Gary Harvey, Head of Housing Solutions at Nottingham City Council; Michelle Howard, Chair of the Homelessness Strategy group at West Lindsey District Council; Peter Radage, Framework Service Director for Homelessness and Housing; Jason Marriott, Framework Street Outreach Service Manager.