The number of rough sleepers across the metropolitan West Midlands has dropped by almost a third.
Latest annual figures show there are now 115 people sleeping on the streets compared to 169 the previous year. That is a drop of 32 percent and means the number of rough sleepers is at its lowest number since 2015.
The Government statistics released today (27 February) also show that nationally the numbers decreased by nine percent.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street (left) with intensive housing support officers, Diane Kendrick and Annabel Fuidge from Dudley Council and deputy leader Cllr David Vickers
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, who set up a regional Homelessness Task Force in 2017, welcomed the figures as a step in the right direction but said more work was still needed.
“Homelessness in the West Midlands is an incredibly complex and difficult issue to tackle, but I am pleased today’s figures show that we are making progress.” he said.
“Rough sleeping in particular has been shaming us as a region for several years, but thanks to some brilliant collaborative working we are now starting to properly address this. This is the fewest rough sleepers we have had on our streets since 2015, and to see the numbers drop by a significant amount is pleasing.
“I am also very proud of the role Housing First has played. The scheme, which focuses on getting rough sleepers into a home they can call their own and surrounding them with the right support, has managed to house nearly 160 rough sleepers since its introduction in 2018. The correlation between the number of rough sleepers on the streets and the number housed by Housing First is clear for all to see.
“However, one rough sleeper is still one too many, and I remain as determined as ever to continue to tackle rough sleeping and the wider homelessness problem right across the West Midlands.”
The Mayor today visited a Housing First accommodation flat in Halesowen, Dudley where he met intensive housing support officers, Diane Kendrick and Annabel Fuidge from Dudley Council. He also met Cllr David Vickers, deputy leader of Dudley Council.
The statistics show that all but one of the constituent members of the WMCA have seen a decrease in rough sleepers. The breakdown across the area shows that in Birmingham the number has almost halved from 91 in 2018 to 52 in 2019, the third largest drop in the country after the London boroughs of Camden and Enfield.