Milton Keynes faces a problem of rough sleepers. The number has grown since 2012 and MK Council figures suggest there are 130 rough sleepers in the new city.
MK Council’s Cabinet, on Tuesday 12 September, will agree to consult on a Rough Sleepers Reduction Strategy, covering the period 2017 to 2020. There will be a 12 week period for residents, partners, business and homeless people to comment on the draft strategy.
The strategy has 5 big priorities. Taken together they would provide a comprehensive approach to reduce rough sleeping and activities such as begging and anti social behaviour. The 5 big priorities are:
- To work in partnership to prevent people rough sleeping in the first place.
- Provide a joined up response when people end up on the streets.
- Provide an outreach service for those with complex or multiple needs.
- Enable the provision of suitable housing solutions.
- Tackle anti-social behaviour and crime to keep MK safe.
Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Housing, Cllr Nigel Long said, “The Council faces a huge challenge on homelessness. The ‘Rough Sleeper Reduction Strategy’ aims to tackle the problem of people, for whom the Council previously, often, did not have a duty to help. We will be consulting widely on the draft strategy and welcome comments from residents, partners, business and from rough sleepers and other homeless people.”
Council Leader, Cllr Pete Marland, added, “We believe that many rough sleepers have a difficult time, but we also have an obligation to ensure anti social behaviour is not a side effect of rough sleeping. This strategy aims to get the balance right between preventing rough sleeping, meeting the needs of rough sleepers and ensuring that anti social behaviour is not a consequence of rough sleeping.”
Cllr Nigel Long concluded, “We are determined that through effective partnership working, both with local partners and with other Councils we will be able to prevent rough sleeping and provide effective support to rough sleepers. We also have an outreach service to address the needs of rough sleepers with mental health challenges. This strategy, once finalised, will help some of the most vulnerable people who face homelessness in Milton Keynes.”