We believe that no one should be sleeping on the streets and it’s time to find new ways to help our rough sleepers, so we can end chronic street homelessness in Croydon for good.
We have recognised that despite the availability of homelessness support services in Croydon chronic rough sleeping is a growing issue that affects the entire community.
We believe that no one should be sleeping on the streets so in July 2016 we launched an initiative called ‘CR Zero 2020’ to find new ways to help our rough sleepers. We are passionate about involving the local community so that together we can end chronic street homelessness in Croydon for good by 2020.
CR Zero 2020 is part of a European-wide initiative, developed by BSHF and FEANTSA, to end chronic rough sleeping across Europe by 2020. Croydon is one of the two Local Authority areas in London that are early adopters of the campaign in the UK.
We are collaboratively delivering the campaign with several partner organisations including Crisis, Expert Link, Homeless Link and Thames Reach. The campaign is also being endorsed by Croydon Council.
For the first part of the campaign we delivered a ‘Connections Week,’ where we engaged 100 local community volunteers to get to know every rough sleeper in Croydon by name, understand their needs and find out what they need for a sustainable route off the streets. During the week, we spoke to 64 people sleeping rough, 42 of whom completed the survey.
What’s happened since the survey?
After Connections Week we formed a ‘Solutions Group’ which includes concerned citizens, who want to help rough sleepers, third-sector organisations, housing and health departments and faith-based groups, to look at breaking down the barriers that prevent people from coming off of the streets, and successfully staying off.
The group meets every two months and has developed ‘task and finish’ groups committed to challenging ‘the system’ to make it work in ways that increase the chances of rough sleepers succeeding. The solutions group is now tackling each of these areas. The five work streams are: implementing a Housing First service, Croydon Council system changes, policy and influence, health, and supported housing. Each group is led by a member of the steering group.
What’s happening next?
We are now seeking volunteers from the community to take forward these actions. If you would like to be involved, or to find out more, please sign up to the next Solutions Group meeting here.
We have also formed an online forum for all updates to be shared around the five work streams, to access the forum please email us.