Mayor George Ferguson to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in Bristol

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By matt_2009 | Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 15:05

Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping in the face of increasing pressures is a key priority for the city, Bristol mayor George Ferguson said.

The mayor underlined his commitment by saying that he was minded to approve the report to Cabinet next week, approving an extension to the contract currently held by St Mungos to run the Compass Centre, which provides services for homeless people, for a further 18 months, until September 2014.

Mr Ferguson said: "Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping will be key priorities in the next three to four years and I am determined to build on the work which has been done to date and find more effective ways of helping people at risk of homelessness, or who have become homeless, to turn their lives around.

"The recession has increased rough sleeping in urban areas across the country, but in Bristol this has been at a much lower rate than the national average thanks to the good work in the city to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

"St Mungos has performed well in ensuring that rough sleepers are engaged positively and moved into supported accommodation and treatment and away from the streets.

"I look forward to spending the day with Caring at Christmas on Christmas Day."

The report to Cabinet notes that in addition to the good performance against targets, St Mungos had brought 'significant' additional resources to the Compass Centre that complemented the work delivered within the contract including:

• £250,000 over three years to deliver a 'No Second Night Out' service

• In partnership with other agencies, funding for an alcohol outreach worker

• Funding a physiotherapist to work with service-users and a peer advice link worker scheme

The report said that the Commissioning and Performance team was currently undertaking a number of complex commissioning programmes with contracts amounting to £8 million in the next 12 months and it was therefore not in a position to go out for the contract currently with St Mungos until April 2013.

These include:

• Mental health specialist services which should start in early 2013

• Specialist Higher Support Services for 16 to 17-year-olds – a draft commissioning plan is due out by the end of the year

• Lower and Floating Support Services – a commissioning plan has been adopted by Cabinet in October 2012

St Mungos was awarded the contract to run the Compass Centre in Jamaica Street and to provide homelessness outreach services in 2009.

The council wants to ensure that the services it is commissioning offer a consistently high-level of assessment and referral in order to ensure that people are signposted to the services which are best-suited to their needs.

It also wants to ensure that service-users do not find themselves becoming homeless again by improving the quality of the support provided, helping more people, with appropriate support, to move on to independent living.

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