Rough sleepers in North Somerset are being helped week-in, week-out by a range of organisations.
North Somerset Council‘s housing advice team works closely with a range of partners to give rough sleepers the opportunity to access support and accommodation.
The council commissions homeless charity St Mungo’s to provide welfare checks and outreach support services to people who are sleeping rough.
The YMCA also provides outreach services so this means that someone is available in North Somerset five days a week to provide support, advice and welfare checks.
Rough sleeper numbers are very low and people begging can often be mistaken for rough sleepers. Early morning walks are carried out by St Mungo’s and the YMCA to identify and offer support to genuine rough sleepers.
The council and outreach workers also take referrals from Streetlink, a service which members of the public, rough sleepers or agencies can contact with information about a rough sleeper to alert local services.
We work together with a range of organisations to makes sure rough sleepers can access daily meals, health care, help accessing accommodation, etc. These organisations, which are made up of professional organisations and volunteers, work closely together to try and ensure people can access all the help they need.
If the individual is not local to the area they will be offered help to reconnect to an area where they may have better access to services.
Unfortunately in some cases, individuals become involved in anti-social behaviour. Where this happens, community safety partners take action to protect public safety.
Weston Night Assessment Centre opened in November 2018 to help up to 10 rough sleepers each night. The referral-based centre is at Somewhere to Go in the Boulevard, Weston-super-Mare, and is the result of 15 organisations, Weston Town Council and us working together.
It’s somewhere people can shower, wash their clothes, store belongings and have a basic breakfast before leaving in the morning. People wanting to use the centre are referred there by outreach support workers. The centre is run by trained staff and volunteers who can also signpost homeless people to other support available, such as housing, addiction or mental health services.
We have also adopted government guidance and offer emergency accommodation to anyone sleeping rough during a spell of particularly cold weather, outside of our usual statutory duties.
Anyone concerned about a rough sleeper should contact StreetLink, the national rough sleeping helpline, on 0300 500 0914 or www.streetlink.org.uk which alerts local services. Somewhere to Go is a local charity supporting homeless people and anyone wishing to make a donation or find out more about their work can visit www.somewheretogo.org.uk.
Hundreds of households who are facing homelessness – including rough sleepers – are helped by North Somerset Council’s housing advice team every year.
Last year a total of 551 households were successfully prevented from becoming homeless through a variety of ways, such as:
- resolving benefit problems
- negotiating with family and friends
- providing tenancy support including financial advice
- mediation between a landlord and tenant
- working closely with other agencies and departments, such as domestic abuse services, mental health teams, social care teams and more.
The team also provides temporary accommodation for vulnerable people and families and works with them to find a longer-term housing.
In 2017/18 316 households were provided with temporary accommodation and in the same year the team helped 485 households into long term housing either as a way of preventing their homelessness or as a move on from temporary housing.
What you can do to help
Anyone concerned about a rough sleeper should contact StreetLink, the national rough sleeping helpline, which alerts local services on 0300 500 0914 or online using the StreetLink website
An In-Crisis leaflet is produced by local charity KeySteps, which helps to house homeless individuals.
Somewhere to Go is a local charity supporting homeless people. Anyone wanting to make a donation or find out about their work can visit:
For more information about how the council supports homeless people or households at risk of homelessness, contact North Somerset Council’s housing advice team: