Sunday, 19 September 2010

What difference will changes to the way street counts are conducted make to the way we tackle homelessness?

In the lead up to the election, Grant Shapps promised changes. This week we have seen these changes implemented in a document produced by the Communities and Local Government body
(CGL )called Evaluating the Extent of Rough Sleeping: A new approach

New guidelines have been introduced with regards to both counting rough sleepers and undertaking counts. Previously only local authorities that had more than 10 rough sleepers (known as ‘hotspots’) were required to undertake a count. Now all local authorities are required to. However, once a count has been done, local authorities can decide how they supply the information, including the option of providing an estimate rather than an actual count number. Within these guidelines, there have also been changes to the way rough sleepers are counted. For the first time those that look like they are about to bed down, as well as those in tents, can be included within the count.
What difference will these changes actually make to the way we tackle homelessness? The new figures produced by these guidelines will show a more accurate indication of the number of rough sleepers, but will there be any extra support for the services working with this client group, or will we continue to see more and more cuts in funding?

1 comment:

  1. The new rules sound good in theory, but in practice will open a 'can of worms' for the Government. Local Councils will be keen to undertake detailed assessments so as to identify the true extent of homelessness with a view to obtaining appropriate recourses to tackle the problem. Given the extent of cuts forecast, resources available to local authorities and other related organisations are likely to be significantly reduced. Therefore, having identified the scale of the problem but not providing local authorities with sufficient resources to tackle homelessness, I’m sure the Government will revise the way rough sleepers are counted so that politically the situation looks better than it actually is.