Official figures released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ today (Tuesday) highlight Wolverhampton’s continued success in keeping its rough sleepers count to a minimum.

Over the last 5 years, a multi agency approach has transformed the way people rough sleeping are supported in the city.

The official Government count – a data snapshot taken once a year based on a single night - remains small in Wolverhampton despite increasing from 5 on 18 November, 2021 to 11 on 10 November, 2022.

All the people rough sleeping on the night of the count have since been supported with an offer of long term safe, suitable and sustainable accommodation - and the city’s Pathway Service, commissioned by City of Wolverhampton Council and run by social inclusion charity P3, operates with the clear message that nobody needs to sleep outside or go hungry.

The latest local single night counts in December and January both put the number of people rough sleeping in Wolverhampton at one.

With the cost of living crisis placing added pressure on households, the city council has put in place a number of support mechanisms to prevent people becoming homeless or rough sleepers. Full details can be found at Cost of Living Support

People who are sleeping rough, or are at risk of becoming homeless, often also have complex needs including physical and mental health problems. 

Supporting vulnerable clients through Public Health, NHS, social care and addiction services, alongside housing and employment support, has helped many of them in Wolverhampton find a long term and sustainable alternative to sleeping rough.

A new Rough Sleeper Services contract in the city will provide greater connectivity between services, providing street outreach, floating support and further embedding of the Housing First model in Wolverhampton.

Peter Bilson House is also due to open in the city centre soon to provide additional good quality accommodation, support and emergency bed spaces for people who are rough sleeping. The service will also provide a base for multi agency work to continue to support people with a history of rough sleeping.

City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for City Assets and Housing, Councillor Bhupinder Gakhal, said: “At a time of heightened worry and fear for people caused by the cost of living crisis, the most important message remains that nobody has to sleep outside or go hungry in our city. 

“We continue to build on the success of our collaborative, partnership working approach to services for homeless individuals and people rough sleeping in Wolverhampton. 

“Working together provides the best possible solution to protecting some of the most vulnerable people in our city. This includes specialist work with many entrenched rough sleepers, who have engaged with services for the first time or after a long break.

“While we are putting in place additional services and reenforcing work being done by partners to tackle rough sleeping in the city, we have a host of support mechanisms to help prevent homelessness in the first place.”

P3’s Head of Support & Community Services, Sam Bailey, said: “Effective partnership working is key to our ongoing success in the city. Together we work daily to ensure anyone who has experienced homelessness can access the support they need to rebuild a life away from the street. Whether this is through somewhere safe and settled to call home or more personalised emotional and practical assistance, we are here to ensure people get the right tailored support. 

“By working together in this way we will continue to ensure everyone knows no one should have to sleep outside or go hungry in Wolverhampton.”

The ongoing work to tackle rough sleeping also involves city organisations Wolverhampton Homes, St George’s Hub, P3, Good Shepherd, Changing Lives, The Haven, Recovery Near You, Refugee & Migrant Centre (RMC), Wolverhampton BID, Solace, West Midlands Police, Black Country Integrated Care Board, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Probation services.

For details on how to contact support services to help those experiencing rough sleeping, visit Rough sleeping or Street Support Network

People can also help the homeless and rough sleepers by donating money online to the city’s Alternative Giving Charity