What's in place for people who are homeless or about to become homeless this winter?

Published: 14 December 2022

Sleeping bag on pavement

Support is available to those sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness this winter.

There is a range of support available all year round for those homeless or about to become homeless. As the cold weather arrives, we all become more aware of those who may need help.

Whilst the most visible form of homelessness is rough sleeping and perhaps the first image that many of us would consider, most of the homeless ‘approaches’ to the council are the less visible forms of homelessness: where households are affected by family or friends being unable to accommodate them (28%), the end of a private rented tenancy (20%) or domestic abuse (10%). Unemployment and illness may also be contributory factors.*

Derby Homes is responsible for coordinating the city’s response to homelessness and for delivering the Council’s Statutory Homelessness Services. Our priorities are to prevent households from becoming homeless in the first place and to relieve it for those who are already homeless or sleeping rough.

This year, residents and visitors to city also have access to a new Alternative Giving Schemewhich gives people the chance to make a real difference to those who experience homelessness.

Emergency provision, all year round

We are fortunate to have access to enough emergency accommodation within Derby and surrounding areas, which means no-one has to spend a night on the streets

Throughout the year, there are a wide range of services available to support homeless people and rough sleepers, including the Council’s Housing Options service, the city’s street outreach teams, hostel networks, the Safe Space initiative, Multi Agency Rough Sleepers Hub, and supported housing providers networks. 

There is also a specific plan to address rough sleeping during periods of extreme hot or cold weather, called the Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP). The plan puts additional measures on top of usual arrangements during excessively hot or cold weather. Every effort is made to engage with people to ensure they are safe and warm and that they do not have to sleep on the streets and can access the accommodation and support services they need. 

Services offered

  • An offer of emergency accommodation (varying options depending on support need)
  • Multiple outreach sessions daily by a dedicated team
  • Partnership outreach with East Midlands Ambulance Service
  • Hot/cold drinks offered by outreach teams
  • Access to additional multi-agency support

Additional provisions during periods of excessive cold

  • Offers of warm hats and gloves
  • Access to hot food vouchers

Rehousing Engagement and Support Team (REST)

The REST team is the city’s outreach service. They carry out daily visits to engage with anyone who is seen sleeping out. They monitor, liaise, signpost, and give support to those they encounter to ensure they can access shelter, warmth, food and begin to take steps towards rehousing. In addition to outreach services, the team also provide support to those in insecure emergency placements, such as bed and breakfasts and shared housing, to prevent a return to rough sleeping.

The Housing Options Centre at The Council House

The Housing Options Homeless Tonight service operates a duty team which provides emergency  telephone advice and assistance, and can see people in person at the council house where necessary...   The Council House is open for people to contact the Housing Options Centre if they do not have any other access to a telephone. The service is available to all customers (or professionals who are supporting customers) who are homeless or at risk of sleeping rough, to arrange for emergency accommodation for those that need it.

  • Homeless advice - 01332 888777 (option 4)
  • Care Line (after 5pm) - 01332 956606 – for the public

Safe Space

Safe Space is a service providing entrenched rough sleepers with a ‘safe space’ to get help and support in the day and a temporary bed space overnight. It is open 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Those who are sleeping rough can visit Safe Space for hot drinks, gloves and hats when the temperatures are low.

Derby is proud to have a dedicated, award-winning homelessness paramedic as part of the Safe Space initiative, who provides emergency health care to some of the most vulnerable people in the city. The East Midland Ambulance Service Homelessness Paramedic operates from Safe Space and conducts outreach throughout Derby City. The role provides health advice and interventions for rough sleepers who are presenting as physically unwell.

The Homelessness Community Psychiatric Nurse also provides support, assessments and advice for rough sleepers who have mental health issues.

Safe Space is provided by Derby City Mission, contracted by the Office of the Police Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Derbyshire. It is funded by Derby Homes, the OPCC, Derbyshire Constabulary and Rough Sleeper Initiative Grant funding provided by Department of Levelling Up Homes and Communities.

Milestone House

Milestone House provides emergency accommodation for single adults and couples without children.  Referrals for a room at Milestone House are coordinated by the Housing Options Centre.  The hostel is managed by Derby Homes and has 38 rooms for Derby’s homeless and rough sleepers.

Christmas break services

During the Christmas break, we will be running a limited emergency service from The Council House on 28-30 December.. People can visit the Council House on these days if they do not have access to a telephone or call 01332 888777 (option 4) between 9am – 5pm. We return to full service as normal on Tuesday 3 January 2023. 

Over the Christmas period outside of these days and times, individuals can get emergency help and advice by calling Careline on 01332 956606 or visiting the Derby City Council webpage.

Our outreach team (REST) will also be delivering outreach services in Derby on 23rd December and again between 28-30 December, providing support to anyone found to be rough sleeping and arranging access to emergency accommodation.

How to help someone you’re concerned about

If you see someone you think may be sleeping rough or is at immediate risk of becoming homeless:
During the day you should encourage people to call 01332 88777 (option 4) and ask for the Housing Options Team or go to the Council House if it is open and they don’t have access to a phone.

In the evenings or at weekends Careline provide emergency cover 01332 956606.   

If you are unable to find somewhere or are worried about someone, you can call Street Link on 0300 500 0914. Street Link is a national service that enables members of the public to connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.

Want to help make a difference?

Alternative Giving gives people who want to help those who are sleeping rough or homeless in Derby the chance to make a real difference. By donating to the scheme, you will be supporting local projects working to provide practical support for people with experience of homelessness and to prevent rough sleeping.

Making a donation through the Alternative Giving scheme means you can be confident that your money is directly helping at a practical level to provide necessary essentials and support. Donating to your chosen project will not only support the work they do but will enable you to help more than one individual. The website is launched on Monday 19 December 2022.

Rough sleeping numbers in Derby

The last official rough sleeping snapshot in Derby, from November 2021, identified 11 rough sleeping individuals, an increase from 6 in 2020, but still relatively low compared to the most recent peak of 37 in 2017.

The official definition of people sleeping rough comes from guidelines from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. All local authorities assess rough sleeping on one night between October and November; these figures, made up from street counts and evidence-based estimates are submitted annually to the government.

Counts are coordinated with other local authorities so that people will not be counted twice (for instance, if someone sleeps in Derby one night and Nottingham the next). Teams are out on the street most days and so know most of Derby’s rough sleepers and where they typically bed down. On the night of the count, the team cover the whole of Derby.

The official figures for the 2022 rough sleeper estimate will be announced by the Government in early 2023.

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