Croydon has one of the highest levels of rough sleeping in the UK and that number has risen significantly in recent years. We’ve been working in Croydon to find innovative ways to help end rough sleeping in Croydon by 2020.
We launched ‘CR Zero 2020’ in 2016 to find new ways to help rough sleepers. CR Zero 2020 is part of a Europe-wide initiative, developed by BSHF to end chronic rough sleeping by 2020. Croydon is one of the two London Local Authority areas that are early adopters of the campaign. We are working with partner organisations including Crisis, Expert Link, National Housing Federation, Thames Reach and Faith Groups, with endorsement from Croydon Council to deliver this innovative multi-agency approach to ending homelessness.
Through our Solutions Group including local people, local organisations and housing and health departments, we are to tackling the barriers that prevent people from leaving the streets.
One of the first priorities for the group was to trial a Housing First approach in Croydon. We are pleased to report that this has been successful with a grant of £500,000 being allocated by Croydon Council to provide a 20 person Housing First service for for rough sleepers. Based on the principles of Housing First, the scheme will be aimed at the most vulnerable and provide help with medical needs, including mental health and substance misuse.
We will continue to challenge the system in Croydon, including improving health services for chronic rough sleepers, and keeping rough sleeping on the agenda. Our consortium approach to the Croydon Zero 2020 initiative has raised the profile of homelessness in the borough and provides a model for other boroughs to follow we look forward to reporting on significant reductions in chronic rough sleeping as we move towards 2020.