Extra support for rough sleepers in Leeds

Mark Hindwell

Funding of over £560,000 has been secured by Leeds City Council for Forward Leeds to support rough sleepers tackle their drug and alcohol issues.

Plans are being progressed for the creation of a new outreach team to work closely with those in need. Linking in with the city’s wider Leeds Street Support the new team will be available to work flexibly in the day and at night time to engage and provide individuals with immediate and expert specialist assistance to meet mental and physical health needs to tackle drug and alcohol dependency.

Lee Wilson, Regional Director, said: “It’s fantastic that PHE and Leeds City Council have recognised the need to increase in the level of support we offer those living on the streets of our city.

“This allows us to significantly expand the work we do with a group of people who face multiple disadvantages in life, often including past traumatic experiences and mental health issues. Supporting this community is not a quick fix and it’s never a 9-5 job. It involves working closely with the individual over a long period of time and supporting him or her into treatment at their own pace.”

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said: “I am really pleased that our bid to Public Health England for over £560,000 of funding to support the proactive work that is being undertaken in the city to help rough sleepers tackle drug and alcohol issues has been approved.

“Being able to offer immediate and specialist help on the ground to those in need both in the day and night, is absolutely critical to our work. The creation therefore of a new designated Forward Leeds outreach team is very much welcome, and a very positive addition to the city-wide partnership approach we are undertaking regarding rough sleeping team here in Leeds.”

The Forward Leeds currently team working with rough sleepers is made up of a street-based Complex Case Worker and a Street Support Team worker. This extra funding will be able to provide even more people working face-to-face with people on the streets of Leeds. The arrival of the outreach team will also play an important role in improving how other partner agencies can reach and engage individuals in Leeds.

(Picture shows Humankind’s Leeds based Complex Case Worker Kim Kaur)

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