Volunteers are mobilising across Torbay, England this week (April 24-28) to speak to rough sleepers, identify their needs and help them in to stable accommodation.
More than 30 volunteers, working with Torbay Council and local charities, will be going out at dawn and late evening, to try and engage with rough sleepers.
Torbay is taking local action as part of the European End Street Homelessness Campaign – a movement of cities working together to permanently house Europe’s most vulnerable people and end chronic street homelessness by 2020.
The European campaign was set up in 2015 by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) at a time when, despite numerous efforts by governments and charities/NGOs, homelessness – and in particular street homelessness – was increasing across Europe. Since then BSHF has worked with different cities to take action to end street homelessness, including Brussels, Glasgow, London and Valencia.
Torbay, England, joined the campaign in November 2016, after they had seen a dramatic increase in rough sleeping. While this reflects a national trend, Torbay showed a higher percentage increase compared to England as a whole. As well as the daily involvement of many local volunteers, representatives from other European campaign cities such as Brussels and Brighton will be visiting Torbay this week in advance of running their own campaigns.
Torbay Councillor, Mark King, said: “This is a compassionate response from Torbay and a community effort to address the concerns around rough sleeping. The information obtained via volunteers will help us to inform what services we need to deliver. We are excited to host our colleagues from Brussels and Brighton who have also signed up to this campaign.”
Isobel Ashford, Deputy Director of BSHF, said: “We are inspired by the dedication and hard work of everyone involved in the Torbay week of action, and their determination to do something as a community to bring about an end to street homelessness.”