Ipswich: New scheme aims to ensure the homeless do not spend a second night on the streets

THERE will be no second night out for rough sleepers.

That was the pledge from multiple agencies in Ipswich today as it emerged more than 1,000 homeless people in the town approach hostels needing a place to stay each year.

In a bid to rid the town of homelessness and in turn transform the lives of those sleeping rough, 35 agencies and stakeholders have come together to launch the Ipswich Homelessness Transition Project (IHTP).

Funded by a grant from the government’s Homelessness Transition Fund, the scheme aims to help people off the streets and house them through the No Second Night Out initiative.

Although the number of “entrenched” rough sleepers is about 28, the number of people needing having lost their home – for reasons which include sofa surfing”, being thrown out of their homes and leaving prisons – has spiralled to more than 1,000.

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Demelza Penberth, project manager for the No Second Night Out scheme, said: “Every year more than 1,100 single homeless people approach hostels in Ipswich for accommodation.

“This compares to the 44 people who Ipswich Borough Council assess as statutorily homeless each year and who are therefore accommodated by the borough under their homelessness duties.”

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However, many are left with nowhere to turn because there are only about 330 bed spaces – some available on an emergency-only basis.

The plans will see an outreach service created.

And a hub in the form of an ‘IpPoint’ will help coordinate activities and support for the homeless, while a pop-up facility will act as a contingency shelter if needed to ensure that no one spends a second night on the streets.

In order to help those left homeless IHTP, the No Second Night Out scheme will have to identify new rough sleepers and help them off the streets immediately so they do not fall into a pattern of rough sleeping.

The agencies hope the public will play an active role by reporting and referring people sleeping rough.

Councillor Roger Fern, who is also chairman of the Ipswich Umbrella Trust, said it would be difficult to get “entrenched rough sleepers” to want help.

He said: “The idea behind the No Second Night Out scheme is to stop homelessness in the town.

“The Ipswich Locality Homeless Partnership is hoping to change homelessness in the town through helping people get back on their feet through activities and housing.

“The difficult part will be to get those entrenched rough sleepers to want help. I think when it comes to them, they have probably been offered help before which hasn’t necessarily worked. There will also be some who have mental health issues or drink and drug problems.

“But it will inevitably all be able getting them prepared for future independent living.”

n What do you think about this issue? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

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