As the weather deteriorates, the Homelessness Outreach Partnership (HOP), commissioned by Bradford Council, continues its efforts in collaboration with the Council’s Access to Housing Team and other partners to assist rough sleepers throughout the district.
The Council maintains a year-round focus on getting people off the streets, offering various forms of support, ranging from emergency accommodation to planned transitions into permanent supported housing.
The No Second Night Out Service, managed by Bradford Council, provides a total of 32 emergency beds strategically located across the district to aid rough sleepers.
Additionally, Bradford Council allocates resources to commission long-term accommodation for those who have experienced rough sleeping. Currently, there are 34 beds available, with secured funding for an additional 20 beds across the district.
James said: “The HOP team found me when I was sleeping rough in the city, in doorways or wherever I could find. I was in a bad place with bereavement. I’d lost my son, I’d lost both my parents and was in addiction. I didn’t know how to cope.
“Sleeping out on the streets is hard. It’s a scary place to be. I lost myself out there and there didn’t seem to be a way out of it. I have had a lot of help with my well-being. The support I have had meant I could find my way back to reality, and back to myself – to who I really am.
“I am so relieved to be away from there now. To wake up knowing I’ve not been robbed, knowing I am safe and warm. It means everything and you never really understand that until it’s been taken from you. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the support I have had.”
Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw said: “People who sleep rough are some of the most vulnerable people in society. Their lives are often difficult, and they have often experienced trauma so they can be difficult to reach. Giving people the support to access services which can help them is vital. We’re proud of the work of the HOP team, which makes such a huge difference to these people’s lives.
“The Council has a wide-ranging approach to addressing homelessness rooted in understanding and patience. There are many services who work together with external partners to support rough sleepers who may feel like they’ve otherwise been forgotten.
“We are working hard to do all we can to support rough sleepers across the Bradford district to change their circumstances for the better.”
Clare Flannigan has been the HOP team co-ordinator for the past four and a half year. She explained: “James’s story is typical in that we work with people who have very complex situations and very complex needs, who often have backgrounds of trauma.
“When we first meet people literally on the streets, they’re out of options and it’s heart-breaking. We really get to know them while we work with them and to see people make progress like this means everything to us. And it’s a partnership effort, there are many people involved.
“Our work is challenging but it can also be incredibly rewarding. We’ve had someone close to death turn things around and make a new life for himself. We’ve had 22 ‘move-ins’ to accommodation last week and it’s those things which make such a difference to us as we work and ultimately makes a difference to the lives of those people.”
The Council’s commitment to addressing homelessness includes a holistic approach, evident in investments in critical services like the Housing First initiative and the expansion of the ‘No Second Night Out’ provision. These efforts underscore Bradford Council’s determination to tackle the root causes of homelessness and provide comprehensive support to those in need.