Rough sleepers come in from the cold in Milton Keynes

Homelessness is a serious problem in MK
Homelessness is a serious problem in MK

As the temperature falls, so has the number of rough sleepers in central Milton Keynes, claim MK Council.

Over the past eight months, the council's homelessness prevention schemes have resulted in 87 rough sleepers being helped to come off the streets for good into accommodation and support programmes.

Some 77 of these "entrenched" rough sleepers are being supported by the Housing First scheme where secure accommodation and intensive support is providing rough sleepers are in emergency accommodation where they are being given help to find settled accommodation.

The remaining 10 rough sleepers are in emergency accommodation where they are being given help to find settled accommodation.

Council leader Pete Marland said: "We’ve invested additional funding into tackling homelessness, spending over £800,000* this year. We’ve extended our rough sleeper outreach service and we now have a dedicated reconnections officer who helps rough sleepers arriving from other areas establish links with their home authority and any friends and family that might be able to help them. There are funds available to make these arrangements where needed."

The council is working to secure more temporary accommodation through our Secure Lets progrramme, and its outreach and other teams are continuing to work with rough sleepers who remain on the streets despite engagement. They try to ensure sites they are occupying are safe and clean and do not pose any hazard to themselves or other MK residents.

More protection is offered to people remaining on the streets through the SWEP protocol (where emergency accommodation is provided when the temperature is forecast to dip below zero for multiple days) . MK Council uses the ‘feels like’ temperature** rather than the just the air temperature, whereas most authorities use air temperature.

Pete Marland said: “What can be clearly seen from these figures and initiatives is the fantastic progress that has been made on the council’s commitment to ending homelessness in MK. Our officers are working tirelessly to help as many people as possible and to keep vulnerable people safe all year round."

“Our focus continues to be the help and support of rough sleepers to stay off the streets whilst providing all of the residents of Milton Keynes with the best possible place to live.”