A VERY welcome positive story about new support for rough sleepers has made its way to us, but with homelessness being such a huge problem, will it work?

In Saturday’s Worcester News we reported that £435,000 will be invested in a project to help rough sleepers in Worcestershire get into housing, in a new scheme called Housing First.

Councillor Marc Bayliss, leader of Worcester City Council, said: “Housing First is the latest and most ambitious new service to tackle rough sleeping across Worcestershire. It will build on other initiatives launched in our city and county in recent years, and we hope will make a significant and lasting contribution to reducing rough sleeping.”

During the recent turn of events, elderly people and those with respiratory problem have been told to take extra care and rightly so. But one thing I’m not sure has been considered is that surely those sleeping rough, who have no access to basic facilities or a warm bed must be in a vulnerable position too? Therefore this is just one of the reasons why I welcome this new scheme to help people turn their lives around.

And I am not criticising anyone when I say that. I think the NHS has responded very well in these challenging times with the resources they have. And it is only natural that most of us will think of our families and loved ones first during the outbreak of a virus.

Housing First sounds like a very well researched scheme.

It provides a stable, independent home to rough sleepers with multiple and complex needs, supporting them with intensive personalised support and case management. There are no conditions around ‘housing readiness’ before an individual is provided with a home – rather, secure housing is viewed as a stable platform from which other issues can be addressed.

Many reading this will say that the rough sleeper needs to make a choice to engage with the support offered to them, and you are right as there is more than a degree of effort required on their part.

But reading about the plans for this new scheme, and the things they will be offering homeless people, I really think it will work.