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NSNO expands into west London

July 18th 2012


The No Second Night Out scheme has opened a shiny new hub in west London, building on the success of its Islington 'super hub' which opened in April last year.

While the west hub reflects its northern sibling in many ways, some lessons have been learned and some changes made, explained Petra Salva, NSNO Director in London.

Essentially, the No Second Night Out scheme aims to prevent 'new' rough sleepers being forced to stay on the streets. People are referred to the hub by outreach teams or via a dedicated phone line, where the NSNO then tries to get them into accommodation or 'reconnect' them with their home area.

Each hub has a maximum capacity of 25, with rough sleepers usually spending up the three days at either the St Mungo’s building in north London or the new building, hosted by Broadway 65.

However, new 'staging post' accommodation has been set up to allow some people to stay longer if necessary, explained Salva.

"We also discovered that some vulnerable women - vulnerable people, in fact - needed a separate area where they could feel more comfortable," she added.

But aside from some operational changes (and better facilities, with more showers and toilets), the new west London hub largely remains true to the old NSNO format, which Salva says has proven a success.

"In the first year of operations, we saw 1,402 rough sleepers go through the hub," explained Salva, "with a 60 per cent success rate - which means they have sustained their reconnection plan.

"However, we know for sure that 18 per cent have been seen rough sleeping again."

But she added that the number of referrals has recently taken a sudden spike. Last year saw a steady flow of four to five people arriving at the hub each day, "but the last couple of weeks has seen this increase three-fold," said Salva, who is investigating the possible reasons behind the jump in numbers. "We are still reaching our targets but it's a challenge."

Last September, Salva admitted the hub had been struggling to follow up on  roughsleepers who had been rehoused. "We now have someone dedicated to following up on referrals but there are still problems," she conceded. "People don't always keep the same phone number or the same address - but we are getting better."

Salva called for fresh dialogue on dealing with the issue of homelessness. "Everything we do is to try to stop people going back to the street but there are always new things we can learn.

"Charities are doing a fantastic job, but some local authorites for example need to understand the NSNO better. Simply handing out our referral number instead of dealing with the issue isn't good enough. There needs to be more dialogue between everyone involved."




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