Nobody should have to sleep on the streets, especially during the colder months. What is being done to assist people move into accommodation, and what can you do to help?
Norwich, like cities around the country, has seen too many people sleeping rough in recent years.
As well as the city centre, rough sleeping happens elsewhere around the city in areas such as parks and woodland.
At our most recent count, on Wednesday 13 November, the number of people sleeping rough was 18 (compared to 21 at the same time last year).
Specialist support and accommodation
There is a range of supported housing venues in Norwich. This housing allows people to live safely and address any issues that have presented barriers to finding a permanent place to live.
Pathways Norwich, a group of expert agencies, engage with rough sleepers throughout the week all year round. You might not see them; a lot of their work happens early in the morning to help them reach as many people as possible.
The team’s approach seeks to find suitable accommodation for each individual, alongside any additional support that someone might need to secure a place to live.
Made up of representatives from organisations specialising in areas such as homelessness, public health and training, Norwich City Council commissions Pathways as part of our rough sleeping strategy.
We have secured government funding and planning permission for a new Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub, which is due to be up and running by the end of this year. Providing 15 additional beds, this hub will provide shelter for anyone working with Pathways and awaiting accommodation.
Over the winter, we also work with community and faith groups to run a winter shelter for anyone waiting to have their housing needs assessed.
Access to food and advice
Free housing advice is available at City Hall from Monday to Friday.
There is a range of free and low cost food available around the city each day, often at venues offering support and advice.
We also provide community food grants, thanks to funding from Norfolk County Council, to groups looking to deliver community-led meals. So far, we have awarded nine grants at venues around the city, as well separate funding for The Feed to host a weekly community meal for specific groups.
Severe weather arrangements
When a temperature of zero degrees Celsius or lower is forecast for at least three consecutive nights, we will activate the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), to make sure no one has to sleep rough that night.
These arrangements usually rely on using community buildings like churches and camp beds, which is not sustainable on a long-term basis.
If you are worried about a rough sleeper, let us know by reporting them via Street Link. This information will be used to help us identify any rough sleepers we aren’t already aware of. Where possible, we will let you know that we are in touch with the individual concerned.
You can also donate to Norwich Street Aid to contribute to the work being done to support rough sleepers in the city.
Have you thought about volunteering? Contact Pathways directly to let them know you’d like to help.