My name is Ella Hawkins I am the
County Homelessness Co-ordinator
for Gloucestershire. I was appointed
in October 2012 to project manage
the implementation and development
of the Gloucestershire Action Plan to
prevent rough sleeping.
I am
employed by all six district councils. I
years, although my role now is much
more strategic, I was a front line
officer for twelve years until taking
up this post.
Cotswold District Council, on behalf of all the housing
authorities in Gloucestershire received funding from
Government to address and prevent single
homelessness early in 2012
The aim of the funding is to ensure that all homeless
Gloucestershire for assistance get:
1) Tailored advice and assistance as appropriate to
prevent or
resolve their homelessness
2) Access to / linked into any additional support
they may need
Assertive Outreach Service (incorporating
Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (S.W.E.P.)
Gold Standard
Faith Groups and V.C.S Meetings
No Second Night Out (NSNO) is a pledge made to people new
to the streets and is part of a commitment to ending rough
sleeping. Government believe that, in order to tackle rough
sleeping once and for all, society needs to focus its energy
on meeting four simple pledges:
No one new to the streets should spend a second
night out
No one should make their home on the streets
No one should return to the streets once they have
been helped off of them, and
Ultimately no one should arrive on the streets.
In the strategy ‘Vision to end rough sleeping: No Second Night Out nationwide’ (2011), the
Government called on every local authority to adopt the NSNO standard. Each community is
different, so the method chosen to achieve the standard may vary, but there will be common
requirements. The strategy notes that communities require the right services in place so that:
New rough sleepers should be identified and helped off the streets immediately so that they
do not fall into a dangerous rough sleeping lifestyle
Members of the public should be able to play an active role by reporting and referring people
sleeping rough
Rough sleepers should be helped to access a place of safety where their needs can be
quickly assessed and they can receive advice on their options
They should be able to access emergency accommodation and other services, such as
healthcare, if needed
If people have come from another area or country and find themselves sleeping rough, the
aim should be to reconnect them back to their local community unless there is a good reason
why they cannot return. There, they will be able to access housing and recovery services, and
have support from family and friends
The districts collectively have agreed to fund
GEAR for a further six months. Whilst we
gather data to go out to full procurement
with a view to commissioning an Assertive
Outreach Service with a launch date of April
Assertive Outreach is fundamental to
achieving the four pledges that constitute
There is a humanitarian obligation on all local authorities to do all
they can to prevent deaths on the streets caused by winter
weather. The Gloucestershire S.W.E.P has been agreed by all six
districts, one policy was agreed to ensure parity across the county.
The recommended criteria is set out by Homeless Link who work
closely with Department for Communities and Local Government
The S.W.E.P is aimed at individuals who would not normally be a
priority under the governments homeless legislation, including
those individuals without recourse to public funds. It is vitally
important that we have a SWEP in place although the actual
numbers it deals with are relatively low. Part of the agreement
within the protocol is that if a rough sleeper is found that is not
linked in with the Outreach Workers. The officer placing will then
make a referral to GEAR.
The National Practitioner Support Service (NPSS)
was set up specifically to develop and administer
improvement in front line housing services
through the development and delivery of the Gold
Standard Challenge. This is funded by the
Government and based on the Government report
'Making Every Contact Count',
The challenge is a local authority, sector led peer
review scheme designed to help local authorities
deliver more efficient and cost effective
homelessness prevention services.
I chair the forum, we have open discussions
regarding issues relating to homelessness,
homelessness services, vulnerable people, those
with learning disabilities, mental health issues,
addictions, benefit problems, etc.
The group is made up of statutory and voluntary
bodies as well as members of faith groups.
Working together excellently looking at some
challenging issues. The Forum is a way of
working between the churches.
The Districts work closely with the County Council to deliver the
supporting people programme which funds housing related
support. Key projects which also support vulnerable homeless
people include
Community Based Support
Community-based housing-related support service
aims to improve the quality of people's lives, by
promoting independent living and encouraging people
to build on their existing strengths. This flexible service
will also work with people who are in crisis, helping
them to develop their own solutions by providing
support and guidance to reduce the likelihood of crisis
reoccurring. Support is provided in a range of
community locations, where people work or live.
Accommodation Based Support
The Supporting People Partnership’s key aim is to help
more people to live independently in their own
communities. Where this is not possible, accommodation
based support (ABS) services are there to meet the needs
of people with more complex, multiple and high level
needs by offering intensive, specialist support which can
help them recover and regain their independence.
The START process is a single assessment and referral
process which aims to provide clear and consistent access
to accommodation based support to ensure that this
resource is targeted at those most in need.
My contact details:
01452 328582 or
[email protected]