When you think of someone who is homeless, the first thing that comes to your mind may be those on the street. However, the word “homeless” can also refer to people who are sofa surfing, staying in a hostel, living in poor conditions that affect their health or even living separately from their families due to lack of space.
People can become homeless for a number of reasons, including leaving prison, care, the armed forces or asylum seeker accommodation, however, lack of affordable housing, unemployment and poverty are social circumstances that also contribute to the crisis.
In 2016 / 17, 3739 families / single people were given support to maintain their current home or find alternative accommodation. 30 – 40 individuals were also rough sleeping every night, although these figures don’t account for the hidden homeless.
The great news is, there are many organisations and individuals that support homeless people in Leicester, and the charter aims to help organisations work together to prevent homelessness by:
– Providing a multi-sector leadership / a shared vision
– Communicating a clear vision to the wider public
– Helping to harness and enable partnership working
– Gaining a greater understanding of the purposes, expertise and capabilities of those involved
– Improving communication between charter supporters
– Developing an inclusive approach including involving people who are or who have been homeless
– Providing a framework for learning, improvement and sharing experience between charter supporters and to enable and monitor change
– Enabling charter supporters to support and advise one another
– Developing trusted standards for homelessness services
– Raising awareness of services providing support and work to prevent homelessness locally
– Providing advice and sign-posting to charter supporters and the public
– Providing a focus for co-ordination
– Identifying areas for action and working together to tackle these challenges
Although those who sign the charter have different approaches to tackling homelessness, the principles of the charter are to ensure that all the needs of the individuals that are homeless are met by working together effectively.
Individuals that sign the charter also have shared values, such as:
- Being stronger together to achieve the best results;
- Having ambition to succeed in ending homelessness;
- Ensuring everyone participates in the decisions that affect them;
- Treating everybody with dignity and respect;
- Placing value on inclusion and listening to new ideas;
- Being honest in receiving and providing feedback.
Leicester citizens, charities, Leicester City Council, healthcare and other public services, faith groups, businesses, institutions and other organisation can all sign the charter and adopt its values, as well as pledge their support to tackle the challenges and prevent homelessness in Leicester.
To sign the charter and get involved, contact homelessness.charter@LecCofE.org.