Rough sleeping reduction in Hastings is among the best in the country

We’re in the top ten of communities around the UK that have done the most to reduce levels of rough sleeping.

Official figures from the government for rough sleepers names Hastings Borough Council as one of the local authorities with the largest decrease in rough sleeper numbers – down by 56 per cent compared to 2018. 

Councillor Andy Batsford, lead councillor for housing said: “Against the background of short term funding for rough sleeping from central government, the disaster of universal credits for the vulnerable and cuts to mental health and welfare services, the officers at HBC and our voluntary partners have done an incredible job in supporting and addressing the biggest homelessness crisis we have seen in generations.  

“The innovation, flexibility and the deep knowledge they have shown around this hugely complex issue is the reason that with limited resources they have been able to make great progress in helping those residents get off the streets; find them accommodation and importantly, the ongoing support to that person which is so important.

“It’s a great effort from our officers but they could not do it alone. I want to thank the volunteers at Snowflake who provide the winter shelters around the town and Surviving the Streets who have filled the gap at weekends for those more chaotic rough sleepers. They both do an amazing job and working so closely with HBC officers has proven to be the key for the success we have seen.” 

Writing on it’s Facebook group the Seaview Project that has been working with rough sleepers in Hastings and St Leonards since the 19080s says: “We have just heard that Hastings has come in the top ten areas in the country where rough sleeping has been reduced the most. This would not have happened without the dedication and commitment from our Housing First team and Rough Sleeper outreach service. This is a monumental achievement and we are extremely proud of what we have achieved! Congratulations and thanks to all at Seaview!”

Sarah North says of Seaview: “You are an inspiration! When I was 16 years old I volunteered at Seaview. I helped others and they helped me!

“I always wax lyrical about Seaview even though I no longer live in Hastings. It’s a brilliant set up and there should be an organisation like you in every town! Well done Seaview!”

Mr Batsford said: “I am confident we will see further improvements to the figures and to the lives of those who have fallen on hard times.”

Table 2.3.3: Local authorities with the largest decrease in the number of people sleeping rough

Local Authority20182019Difference% Change
Camden14165-76-54
Enfield7824-54-69
Birmingham9152-39-43
Manchester12391-32-26
Tameside365-31-86
Cornwall5324-29-55
Hastings4821-27-56
City of London6741-26-39
Swale3210-22-69
Bedford5130-21-41

Last year Hastings In Focus spent the early hours of one morning with the outreach team from Seaview. We met rough sleepers and heard about the issues they face, here’s a link to the story we wrote at the time… https://www.hastingsinfocus.co.uk/2019/04/04/rough-sleepers-arent-statistics-we-meet-the-real-people-living-on-the-margins/

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