Since becoming Mayor, helping our regions homeless was one of my top priorities. I'm pleased that progress is continuing to be made on this issue so that the most vulnerable people in our region can access support. The “Housing First” approach, which I have supported throughout my mayorship, prioritises getting people into a home first and then helping them with their other problems.
So far, this has been a success in the West Midlands. And to continue this success, I called on the Government to extend the funding for the Housing First scheme, and we have been able to continue to lower the number of rough sleepers on our streets of the West Midlands.
The scheme has already helped just under 400 rough sleepers in the West Midlands into homes of their own with specialist wrap-around support for mental health, drug and alcohol issues.
After the promising initial results of Housing First and the decrease in rough sleeping we have seen, we still need to do more to make sure that no-one sleeps rough in the West Midlands.
Here are how many rough-sleepers we’ve housed in each area of the West Midlands:
Birmingham - 132
Walsall - 85
Solihull - 17
Wolverhampton - 32
Coventry - 40
Dudley - 29
Sandwell - 42
Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping is and will remain a priority for me. We need to go beyond just focusing on rough sleeping and work to ‘design out’ the root causes of homelessness.
I would like to thank all of the public servants, faith and charity groups and volunteers who have been on the frontline of tackling homelessness in the West Midlands. It is a team effort, and all of their hard work is beginning to show in the figures.