8 March 2023

Since its formation in October 2019, the Homelessness Partnership BCP, has made strides in its mission to ensure that everyone in the conurbation has a safe place to call home.

Partnership working is bringing hope to people in crisis and helping to transform their lives for the better.

Through the power of collaboration, early intervention initiatives are successfully preventing people from falling into homelessness, while helping those who have experienced the trauma of rough sleeping to rebuild their lives in safe accommodation.

Portfolio Holder for People and Homes, Councillor Karen Rampton, said: “The Homelessness Partnership BCP is a shining example of what can be achieved when multiple organisations join forces to work towards one ultimate goal: ending all forms of homelessness across the conurbation.

By acting swiftly to prevent people from falling into homelessness, while delivering new emergency accommodation, move-on homes and specialist support, the Partnership has sown the seeds of hope and a brighter future for many individuals and families who were at risk.”

Here, we throw the spotlight on 12 of the Partnership’s successful initiatives to date.

1. 60 move-on homes delivered

To date, around 60 homes have been delivered in the BCP area after BCP Council, working with BCHA and Pivotal, secured funding from the Government’s Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP).

Launched by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in 2020, the scheme has successfully funded longer-term homes for people who have previously experienced rough sleeping, providing better pathways to independent living.

2. 40 extra supported housing rooms

A successful application for three years of Government funding by BCP Council paved the way for an increase in supported housing rooms in the BCP area.

Thanks to the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI), 40 additional rooms have been provided by organisations including Bournemouth YMCA and south west-based charitable housing association BCHA.

3. New supported emergency accommodation

Offering quick and intensive support for people who are moving off the streets is critical to ensure they don’t return to rough sleeping.

New supported emergency accommodation in Christchurch is on track to become operational early in 2023, following the successful opening of a similar venue in Bournemouth in July 2021. These are delivered by BCP Council with close joint working alongside a range of partners who provide support.

4. Giving those impacted by homelessness a voice

Establishment of the Oracle Group has provided a voice to people with lived experience of homelessness. Open to those who were formerly homeless, as well as people who are currently without a home in BCP, the group enables people to meet, discuss and share views and opinions.

The initiative is part of wider work to gather insight from a wide variety of people who have experienced homelessness and ensure this influences how services and pathways are shaped and delivered.

5. Help and advice for those impacted by restricted eligibility to public funds

For people who have a residence permit to live in the UK, it may include an immigration condition called NRPF – No Recourse to Public Funds. This prohibits people with restricted eligibility from claiming benefits, tax credits or housing assistance.

Organisations including the Red Cross, ICN (International Care Project), DREC (Dorset Race Equality Council), Citizens Advice, St Mungo’s and Shelter collaborated to come up with practical advice and signposting, because people in this situation can be at high risk of homelessness or poverty. The information can be accessed online here: https://tinyurl.com/3wf6zmmr

6. New Multi-Disciplinary Team

Following a period of significant lead-in work, a new Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) launched in July 2022. The team reviews long-term challenging cases, striving to find flexible and person-centred solutions for some of the most complex homelessness situations.

To fulfil its remit, the MDT works in collaboration with a wide cross-section of partners in areas relating to health, substance use, housing, outreach, social care and mental health and is inclusive of statutory and third sector partners.

7. Prevention Hub in development

Preventing homelessness lies at the heart of the Homelessness Partnership BCP. In September 2022, a new Prevention Action Group was formed, which is now exploring possibilities regarding the launch of a Prevention Hub.

Currently a work in progress, the Hub could take the form of a pop-up homelessness prevention centre, or might link in with existing services such as warm banks. Watch this space for updates.

8. Roll-out of contactless giving

The roll-out of contactless giving points across BCP has driven donations to the Partnership’s Change for Good initiative. Between April and September 2022, more than £8,000 was awarded to charities and support services, with grants independently administered by the Dorset Community Foundation.

9. Funding life’s essentials

With the cost-of-living crisis threatening to push people into poverty and homelessness, helping those experiencing financial hardship to access life’s essentials has never been more vital. Partners have been issuing clothing, furniture and shoe vouchers to those in need.

10. Ensuring no-one goes hungry

Providing a joined-up food offer has been critical to support people who are rough sleeping or experiencing financial crisis. The interactive Access to Food Map shows the variety of community food support that’s available throughout BCP, from food banks to community meals, social canteens and community kitchens. Click here: https://tinyurl.com/yu493euz

11. Bolstering financial resilience

Providing straightforward resources for people facing financial crisis is imperative, especially in tough economic times. A ‘Worrying About Money’ leaflet has been produced and distributed throughout BCP, directing readers to local agencies that can help. Read the leaflet here: https://tinyurl.com/yey7amze

12. Homelessness Partnership website

Whether you’re looking to donate, concerned about losing your home, rough sleeping or just want to find out more about homelessness prevention in BCP, you’ll find it all on the Partnership’s website. We’re spreading the word about our mission via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, too.