Camden adapts to the challenges of rough sleeping in the borough

Camden Council has agreed to adapt its approach to rough sleeping in the borough, addressing the changing nature of the issues in Camden, at yesterday’s cabinet meeting (Wednesday 22 February).

The Council’s commitment to supporting people sleeping rough is currently centred on the successful specialist Safer Streets Team. The Council has been a leading innovator in London over the years in tackling the inequality of rough sleeping. Currently three quarters of new rough sleepers who arrive in the borough receive assistance which prevents them from having to sleep rough again.

“The Government’s ill-considered and punitive austerity measures are directly causing the increase of rough sleeping in Camden, across London and nationally. In 2010, we had about 250 people rough sleeping in the borough. Last year, the figure was over 600.

“To respond to this challenge we have agreed a strategy called ‘Routes off the streets’. This is designed to improve access to specialist services for rough sleepers who experience multiple disadvantages, such as supporting women and girls who have experienced violence and LBGT issues. We need to consider all aspects of the individual’s needs, assessing the issues causing them to sleep rough in the first place.”
Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and the Voluntary Sector

The new approach recognises the need to work together. The Council will develop new ways of working to meet the needs of rough sleepers in the borough and to improve their well-being, through collaboration with voluntary and community sector (VCS) agencies, providing help and assistance, sharing expertise and energy to respond to the challenges of emerging issues such as labour exploitation and human trafficking.

We will also engage with all our communities so that residents know of the services that are available for rough sleepers and how they can help. 

“We will work with the London Mayor’s office to make the best of new funding opportunities and collaborating more closely with our neighbouring boroughs to tackle the long term problems.

“Partnership sits at the very heart of the new approach and community groups, local residents and businesses will play a key role in our revised plans. We know that we can make more impact when we work together and engage the strength of our communities to tackle the long term issue.

“These approaches will help meet our commitment to offer a route off the street for every person who ends up rough sleeping in our borough.”
Councillor Jonathan Simpson, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and the Voluntary Sector

Anyone who has concerns about rough sleeping in the borough can contact the Council’s Safer Streets hotline at any time on tel: 020 7833 7970 or Freephone: 0808 800 0005.

For more information visit the council’s website.

Image shows (Left to right): Kate Tebbet (St Mungo’s Regional Head – Camden Services); Paul  and Marcus (Endsleigh Gardens clients). Standing Councillor Jonathan Simpson (Cabinet Member for Community Safety and the Voluntary Sector).

Councillor Simpson met with Paul and Marcus at Endsleigh Gardens to chat about their individual journeys and experiences of being homeless in Camden and the support and help received from St Mungo’s and other agencies.

St Mungo's vision is that everyone has a place to call home and can fulfill their hopes and ambitions. As a homelessness charity and a housing association, our clients are at the heart of what we do. We provide a bed and support to more than 2,500 people a night who are either homeless or at risk, and work to prevent homelessness. We support men and women through more than 250 projects including emergency, hostel and supportive housing projects, advice services, specialist physical health, mental health and skills and work services. We believe in our clients’ potential. We are committed to every individual’s sustainable recovery