The introduction of the Rough Sleepers initiative RSI has meant that we together with our partners have been able to make great strides in providing services for people sleeping rough in our city.
Funding is provided by the Dept of Levelling Up Housing and Communities to Preston City council who fund the partners in the RSI
The elements of the RSI are
The idea is that people can move from the streets to a more settled and safe life and that crucially on that journey they don not fail. Things may go wrong and new options may need to be investigated but all partners have agreed not to give up and will keep trying to help each rough sleeper.
In the past 18 months we faced a major challenge during the year as along with everyone else we began to experience the Covid-19 pandemic. In an attempt to address the public health risks associated with rough sleeping with the government adopting an “Everybody In” approach across the country which meant that due to covid risks everyone was to be brought in from the streets.
This initiative was successful in Preston bringing most of our rough sleepers into emergency accommodation and hotels. It was a major upheaval for the Foxton Centre as it entailed the closure of our emergency homeless hub due to the shared nature of the accommodation. This catered for 6-8 people at any one time, and we moved overnight to a situation where we supported 30 plus people in emergency accommodation.
Initially accommodation was provided in hotels which had Covid safe en-suite rooms, and our staff travelled to deliver support including provision of food as no catering facilities were available on site. The staff and our supporters in the local community were heroic in helping deliver a comprehensive service to these rough sleepers in very difficult circumstances. Later in the year we secured some former student accommodation which was not in use and provided catering facilities which was much more suitable as an accommodation service. A 24 / 7 service is offered from this building and during the year we provided housing consistently to many more people than we had envisaged.
Utilising this and other funding schemes, we continue to accommodate over 107 people each night throughout our settings, across Preston. Although this client group brings many challenges we are committed to work in partnership and continually evolve our services to meet their needs. In the last year (Data April 2020 – Feb 2021) The Foxton Centre, have supported over 235 individuals by providing accommodation across our sites and provided 33,668 bed nights through the year.