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24 December 2014, 10:16 | Updated: 24 December 2014, 10:30
The number of people sleeping rough in Bristol has stayed the same over the last 12 months according to an annual count.
Since autumn 2010, all local authorities - in partnership with other local agencies - have been required to provide an annual figure for the number of people sleeping rough in their area based on a single night snapshot.
In Bristol 41 people were found to be sleeping rough during the count which was carried out in November. Nick Hooper, service director for housing solutions and crime reduction, said:
“We are relieved that the number of people counted in this year’s annual ‘census’ is no higher than 2013. However even one person sleeping on the streets is one too many, and we will be redoubling our efforts to find solutions for people, and also to try and prevent it happening in the first place.”
Weekly counts of rough sleepers are held across the city, and once a year an official count is commissioned by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
The count is done in accordance with Government requirements, but we are aware that there will be other people who are sleeping in unsafe buildings or sofa surfing who are not included in this figure.
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, has made tackling the issue of homelessness a top priority. He said:
“While it is a relief that the number of people sleeping rough in Bristol has not risen in the last 12 months, it remains a priority for me to get everyone off the streets and into a home of their own. The number of homelessness applications we deal with has gone up sharply for many reasons, from house prices to welfare reform to personal crises. Everyone deserves to feel safe and warm when they go to sleep at night, and we all have a duty to work together to address these issues and help our most vulnerable citizens.”
This year the Mayor’s Fund for Bristol has been dedicated to helping to tackle homelessness, and it aims to raise £50,000 by April 2015.
Bristol City Council funds a range of services to prevent homelessness, or to help people recover from homelessness. People facing homelessness or at risk of homelessness are referred to Housing Advice through partner agencies or through our customer service points.
Taken together, these services create a ‘pathway’ from homelessness crisis through to settled accommodation.
To report someone sleeping rough in Bristol you can use Streetlink, England’s only phone-line, website and mobile app that allows members of the public to send an alert when they see someone sleeping rough and connect them to local services.