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Update on proactive work to support those living a street-based lifestyle to be discussed by executive board

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A report providing an update on the range of meaningful help which is being undertaken by Leeds City Council and partners to assist those currently living a street-based lifestyle, is set to be discussed by senior councillors next week.

Submitted to the council’s executive board on Wednesday 21 October, 2020, members will have the opportunity to examine the findings of an Independent Review which was undertaken following concerns that were raised regarding the deaths of a number of rough sleepers in the city and to consider the next steps in enhancing the multi-agency response and support in Leeds.

Commissioned by the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board, the Independent Review as part of its terms of reference, set out to look at the following aspects; understanding how we prevent the deaths of adults living street-based lives in Leeds; considering the impact of physical or mental impairment or illness, including substance dependency and self-neglect on the risks experienced by adults who live street-based lives; evaluating the effectiveness of multi-agency working to support adults living street-based lives. Subsequently, the review has identified areas of learning in three different areas; prevention; intervention; recovery. Accompanying these proposals are also a series of recommendations for the council and partners to potentially move forward with and incorporate as part of its future work and strategy to support those in need.

Also included in the report is an overview of the work that is being undertaken through a designated city-wide approach and how this assistance has been adapted and tailored as Leeds continues to meet the challenge of coronavirus. Through its street support model the council have been able to support and provide access to a range of accommodation. This support forms part of the Leeds Street Support Team, which created in 2018, has sought to develop new responses and approaches to tackle complex issues such as rough sleeping, begging, substance misuse, addiction, and elements of anti-social behaviour of those living on the street. This is supported and informed through a daily outreach programme undertaken by the council and partners which provides help and signposting to accommodation and designated services.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities said:

“Firstly, I would like to express our respects and sympathies to the families of those who have sadly died in the circumstances which have led to this independent review being undertaken. One death on our streets is too many and it is always a tragedy when it unfortunately occurs.

“Many of the issues associated with people rough sleeping and/or living a street-based lifestyle are extremely challenging and complex. It was for this reason that in 2018 we set up as part of a city-wide approach a designated Street Support Team to ensure the best possible help could be offered. An update on the work which has been taken is provided in this executive board report, along with an overview of what we are doing to meet the challenges offered by coronavirus to help those in need and an outline of our planned future work.

“We know these are difficult circumstances, but even during this review we have been working on this and we are starting to see positive outcomes on the streets. We know we are not there yet but we continue to be dedicated to this work. We are currently assessing closely the findings of the Independent Review in to the very sad deaths of those people rough sleeping on our streets. This will aid our work to ensure that no stone is being left unturned in our aim to do everything in our power stop these types of tragedies happening again in our city.”

Richard Jones, independent chair, Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board said:

 “Any death of someone on our streets is truly heart-breaking and our thoughts are very much with the family and friends of those who have lost a loved one.

“We know that many of the challenges associated with rough sleeping are extremely deep rooted and not easily solved. The aim of the Independent Review which we commissioned was to take a real in-depth look into all the issues associated with rough sleeping, the effectiveness of support services on offer, and what opportunities were there for both learning and improvements to be made.

“The findings of the Independent Review set out in the executive board report focus on three key areas; prevention; intervention; recovery. These are also accompanied by a series of recommendations in each area to support and potentially strengthen the on-going work and strategy that is being undertaken by the council and partners to help and support rough sleepers.”

The Independent Review was led by an independent consultant with extensive local authority and national experience in housing and homelessness matters, Neil Reveley of Reveley Consultancy Ltd. (RC Ltd).

Source Leeds City Council