Rough sleeping strategy 2019-2024

Executive summary

Rough sleeping is harmful and those experiencing it will likely be facing several disadvantages (often referred to as ‘multiple
disadvantage’) that they require support with before moving from the streets into long-term independent living. People sleep rough in Reading for various economic, local and individual reasons. This strategy explores these reasons and acknowledges that no single factor is responsible; that they are not exhaustive
or mutually exclusive, neither are individuals exonerated from their own action or inaction.

Many people sleeping rough will experience different combinations of issues at times in their lives which result in them sleeping rough. Where there is no single reason for its cause, there is no single resolution.

Rough sleeping numbers increased year-on year, both nationally and in Reading, between 2010 and 2017. In 2018, there was a decrease. In Reading this was by 19% from 31 down to 25; nationally this was by 2% from 4751 down to 4677. A reduction in numbers is positive, but Reading will continue to utilise Council
funded outreach and accommodation services and monies successfully obtained through bids to the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Rough Sleeping
Initiative and Rapid Rehousing Pathway funds.

The following principles will underpin the strategy’s delivery:

  • Knowing there is a long-term, sustainable option for anyone sleeping rough
  • Innovation: Creative responses and making the most of existing resources
  • Strategic local leadership: Accountability and cross-borough working
  • Partnership working: Everyone having an
    important role

The strategy’s key objective is to reduce rough sleeping by half, to 15 individuals or fewer, by 2022 and to eliminate it entirely by 2027 in line with central government targets.

The Council’s strategic priorities around rough sleeping are:

Priority 1: Early intervention and prevention

To prevent those who are vulnerable to sleeping rough from moving towards entrenched and harmful behaviours and
lifestyles by intervening as early as possible.

Priority 2: Recovery and community integration

To ensure that recovery underpins tenancy sustainment as part of a holistic approach to homelessness prevention.

Priority 3: Rapid intervention

To intervene rapidly when prevention has been ineffective and homelessness is unavoidable.

Priority 4: United support and enforcement action in Reading

To approach rough sleeping in a way that supports individuals, but that also protects Reading’s resident and business community
from the effects of any associated anti-social behaviours.

Priority 5: Provision of information and alternative ways to give

To provide steer to our local communities in how they respond to people who are sleeping rough by providing sufficient and accessible information, support and guidance around how we collectively and individually support vulnerable people

Download the full Rough Sleeping Strategy 2019 – 2024.