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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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London authorities to extend RS205 scheme

June 06 2010
London Delivery Board to extend its scheme to get "entrenched" rough sleepers into accommodation The London Delivery Board (LDB) is planning to extend an existing scheme designed to get "entrenched" rough sleepers into accommodation on a long-term basis.

Rough Sleeping 205 (RS205), of which the Westminster 150 is part (the numbers refer to the number of individuals they focus on), has been running throughout the capital since spring 2008. The scheme takes "purposeful individualised approaches" to getting people off the streets that involve services and local authorities sharing information about individuals who have been sleeping rough for five or more years. According to Westminster Council, all those who are being monitored in this manner will be made aware of it, as the first step is to have a "case conference" with "everyone", including the person concerned.

Since being adopted, roughly a third of those identified have been moved into accommodation: 52 are still on the streets and 19 are missing. Nine people are "red" status, which means they have accommodation, albeit the least secure.

At an LDB meeting in March, Simon Cribbens, senior policy officer for housing and homelessness at the Greater London Authority, presented a paper outlining possible approaches to extending the RS205 work to other entrenched rough sleepers in the capital.

Mr Cribbens asked the board "to consider whether a targeted approach should be extended to a new cohort, who should be in the new cohort, what offers should be available to them and what deadline should be set", the minutes show. The board agreed to extend the approach.

Rosemary Westbrook, director of housing at Westminster, said boroughs would need to "manually adjust the list of rough sleepers to ensure those who may have been missed, because of hospitalisation for instance, can be included".

Jeremy Swain, chief executive of the charity Thames Reach, and Michelle Binfield, from the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG), suggested that people who have been homeless consecutively for four quarters, rather than the original five years, be targeted. A "target deadline" has been set for 31 December 2010, and local authorities are being charged to monitor individuals on a bi-monthly basis.

But those of the current RS205 who have not moved into accommodation may face harsher tactics. Although the meeting discussed a number of solutions, including getting groups such as the Simon Community on side, Ms Binfield explained there had also been dialogue with the police about using the Vagrancy Act [Should the Vagrancy Act be repealed?;The historical background to the Vagrancy Act 1824] or Anti Social Behaviour Orders "as enforcement options". The minutes stated "that enforcement options are primarily useful as a deterrent and must be used alongside an offer of services".

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