01 November 2006

Keeping tabs on the Street-count

The time for the annual street-count draws nearer. We have received emails from a number of workers with first hand experience of the count which provide evidence that local provision is adjusted on the run up to counts, to ensure numbers on the night of the count are kept low.

We are aware of one count area where the number of rough sleepers was brought down on the night of the count by the temporary opening of a shelter for a week; a rough sleeper count was brought down from fourteen to one, for the duration of the count.
Several workers are stressing that as more people are removed from city centres, or have ASBOs that restrict their access to City centres, more people are sleeping rough away from main count areas; they are certainly sleeping rough - but not necesarilly visible in street settings.

And there is a growing awareness of the number of economic migrants, and people seeking Asylum who may have had claims rejected who are now sleeping rough too. We are very aware that these groups, caught in a catch 22 where they cannot get benefit or access to many hostels, are especially vulnerable and are likely to be at risk during what looks like being a very cold winter.

If you are aware of any measures that have been used in your locality to push down the count in your locality, please write in and let us know; this may include sudden purges of rough sleepers the night of the count, emergency accommodation being opened.

We will make sure contributions are kept anonymous.

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