Alternative giving campaign Change Into Action launched today in Sandwell, offering practical, positive help for rough sleepers.
Sandwell Council alongside West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and local agencies have come together to support and make a real difference to the lives of those rough sleeping, or at risk of rough sleeping, in Sandwell.
Change into Action works by providing the public a safe and targeted way to donate so that specialist organisations already working in Sandwell can help get people off the streets. Money donated will be used to provide accommodation, access to healthcare, clothing and training that could lead to a job.
This initiative is led by the WMCA Homelessness Taskforce set up by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and is already operating in Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and Walsall.
Sandwell’s cabinet member for homes, Councillor Keith Allcock, said: “Sandwell Council is committed to helping our homeless people off the streets and has an excellent record, helping nearly 4000 people and households in the last 12 months and we have been able to help 70% of these people to keep their current home.
“We are also securing more and more properties in all rented sectors to help people move on quickly when they have lost their home. This work has meant that we have 70% fewer people in temporary accommodation than during the peak and less than a handful in bed and breakfast or hotels.”
Deputy Council Leader, Councillor Maria Crompton, said: “We have developed strong partnership working with local and national charities and organisations to tackle homelessness and we very much welcome this collaboration with the combined authority.
“I hope Change Into Action will help target public support to the best effect through our expert teams.”
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said: “Rough sleeping across the West Midlands is completely unacceptable and morally wrong, which is why I am so encouraged that thanks to collaborative working between our local authorities and wider partners we’ve significantly reduced the number of rough sleepers on our region’s streets by more than 60 per cent over the past year.
“But it is so far from job done, and we absolutely cannot let up. I am therefore delighted that Sandwell Council has become the latest authority to work with the West Midlands Combined Authority and adopt the Change into Action scheme, which we first launched in Birmingham in 2017. The scheme represents an alternative way to give, with people knowing that their donation will really make a difference to the lives of those who are sleeping rough or who are at risk of doing so.
“Alongside our pioneering Housing First pilot, Change into Action has been one of the initiatives that has helped us see such a significant fall in rough sleeping, and it really is great news that we are able to extend the scheme out to another borough as part of our mission to ‘design out’ homelessness across the West Midlands.”
Donations can be made online at changeintoaction.org.uk/sandwell/donate
If you are concerned about someone who may be rough sleeping, please contact StreetLink at streetlink.org.uk so that the individual can be linked into local support services.
If you think the person is in immediate danger or needs urgent care, please call 999.
Watch the Mayor and Councillor Allcock launching Change Into Action in Sandwell here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/eT70WtldwUQ