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We'll fight to end rough sleeping says mayor's new task force

Charities, councils and housing experts brought together by new mayor to end rough sleeping in the region

A mayor task force has been launched with a pledge to end the scourge of rough sleeping on our streets and encourage the public to donate to charities tackling the issue.

Some of the country’s leading homelessness charities, housing providers and public agencies were brought together by the new West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to coordinate action to bring about a dramatic reduction in people sleeping on our streets.

In Birmingham rough sleeping has risen by 50 per cent in the last year, and this is matched by rising numbers across the West Midlands.

To signal his commitment to the issue, Mayor Street has launched the task force in the first week of his new role .

And the group has promised to tackle the underlaying causes of rough sleeping, not just shift the problem.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “Frankly, it’s a situation that shames us as a region. This is why I am personally going to lead the response.”

Andy Street

“Reflecting on the meeting it is clear there is already lots of brilliant work, notably from the charity sector. However, there is a clear need for co-ordination addressing the underlying issues.

“This is about everybody working together, using the resources we have and securing new resources, to solve the challenge.

“But we don’t have the same approach or co-operation for adult rough sleeping.”

He said there was a great deal of enthusiasm from all involved.

And added: “This has to be about tackling those underlying prevention issues. I feel confident that by working together we can make a difference.”

The Mayor’s Homelessness Task Force includes Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray.

It also includes national and regional charities such as St Basil’s, the Royal British Legion, SIFA Fireside, Langar Aid, Emmaus Coventry, and Dudley-based CHADD.

And it has representatives from housing groups, local authorities and business organisations in recognition of the different solutions.

Homeless people get a warm meal at SIFA Fireside in Digbeth

This was the first meeting, but are there any ideas so far?

Among the ideas being suggested is an alternative giving system which would enable members of the public to donate to organisations which prevent rough sleeping.

Anybody interested in getting involved in the taskforce should email roughsleeping@wmca.org.uk

Which organisations are on the Mayor's Homelessness Task Force?

West Midlands Combined Authority, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Birmingham and Solihull Women’s Aid, Birmingham City Council, CHADD, Citizens Advice Bureau, Colmore Business District, Coventry Law Centre, Crisis Skylight, Emmaus, Gowling WLG, Khalsa Aid, Langar Aid, Royal British Legion, Midland Heart, Shelter Birmingham, SIFA Fireside, St Basil’s, West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Housing Partnership, YMCA, West Midlands Police Mental Health Commission.

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