Rough sleeping initiative helps people off the streets sooner

Thursday, 13 February 2014 - 12:43am

Report finds No Second Night Out is helping rough sleepers off the streets faster.

A new report on a government-funded initiative shows that around 7 in 10 (67%) rough sleepers across England are now helped off the streets the day they are found, and nearly 8 in 10 (78%) do not return after receiving help.

No Second Night Out across England looks specifically at 20 areas and  provides for the first time information on  who is sleeping rough outside London, with those most likely to end up on the streets being male (83%), aged over 25 (85%) and UK national (75%).

"It’s fantastic to see such positive results throughout England, with more individuals being supported towards long-term stability and independence."

The longer someone sleeps rough, the harder it can become to get back on their feet as problems become more complex and serious. No Second Night Out (NSNO) was developed as a standard for ensuring the right services are in place to help individuals off the streets as quickly as possible.

Umbrella body Homeless Link supported a pilot of the initiative in London in 2011 and its subsequent rollout across England through the £20m Government backed Homelessness Transition Fund. The report shows that almost all local authorities are now running or developing services based on the NSNO standard.

In London, where the initiative has been running longest, 75% of new rough sleepers were only seen once in 2012/13 compared to 62% in 2010/11.  Councils and local charities also agree that NSNO has improved the help available to rough sleepers and led to a more effective service throughout England.

However, the progress that has been made in the last two years can only be sustained through sufficient investment. 91% of NSNO services in the sample were funded by the Homelessness Transition Fund, but with this funding due to end in March 2015, there is a real risk that the good work will be undone through lack of funding.

Homeless Link is calling on Government and councils across England to help protect investment in NSNO services.

Commenting on the report, Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said:

“For anyone forced to sleep rough, it is vital that they are given help before developing problems from which it can be extremely difficult to escape. That is why NSNO is such an important initiative and, as this report shows, one that clearly works.

“The NSNO standard allows councils to adapt services to suit the needs of their area, so it’s fantastic to see such positive results throughout England, with more individuals being supported towards long-term stability and independence.

“It is important, however, that we recognise the challenges that lie ahead in making sure this level of support for rough sleepers can continue. Government must continue funding services in order for the voluntary sector to meet demand for help.”

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins, said:  

“The No Second Night Out standard has been a real success and has helped many vulnerable people facing the prospect of rough sleeping to get their lives back on track.  It has given thousands of people the advice and support they need to ensure they do not have to spend a second night on the streets and I am pleased to see that this good work will continue.

“This Government is determined to make every effort to help prevent and tackle homelessness and rough sleeping that’s why we have invested £470million over four years to ensure that support is available to the most vulnerable people across the country.”

No second night out across England 2014

The No Second Night Out standard aims to ensure rough sleepers are helped off the streets as quickly as possible. Adopted by councils accross England, this report looks whether No Second Night Out services are working.

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Stephen Holland

Stephen served as our Communications Officer until January 2016.

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