Supporting rough sleepers
Many people begging in Buckinghamshire have mental health issues or have substance misuse addictions – either alcohol or drugs. There is overwhelming evidence that people who beg on the streets do so in order to buy drugs or alcohol to support their addiction. While they do this, they do not engage fully with the services that are available to help them make a positive change to their lives.
Living on the streets can lead to a severe deterioration in a person’s health and well-being – and even death. The life expectancy of a rough sleeper is significantly reduced; to between 42 and 47 years old, depending on gender.
What we do to help
Buckinghamshire Council has taken on a joint approach to supporting homeless people in the county. Although we aim to find suitable housing arrangements for those sleeping rough, we also try to support them with other related issues.
We work with organisations such as Connection Support, the NHS, One Recovery Bucks and Citizens Advice to ensure that support is provided for unemployment, substance misuse, debt and physical and mental health conditions. This is called the Rough sleeper initiative project.
Tell us about a rough sleeper
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, take note of:
- their name
- a brief description of their appearance
- the date and location that you saw them
With the person's consent, you can then pass their details onto outreach workers who will try to contact them and provide support.
Organisations that can assist include:
Bucks Rough Sleeper Outreach team
tel: 01494 459 871
Make a report and this will be sent to us or the outreach service