Homelessness experts to help rough sleepers off the streets

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news Housing, Community

Rough sleepers' commission, from left to right, Michael Buraimoh, Tom Neumark, Steven Platts, Jon Sparkes, Cllr Sue Fennimore and Michael Angus

A new taskforce led by the chief executive of Crisis is hoping to put an end to rough sleeping with the support of Hammersmith & Fulham.

Jon Sparkes, who heads the national homelessness charity, is chairing the new H&F Council’s Rough Sleepers’ Commission which met for the first time last Thursday (9 February). He and other independent experts on homelessness will work with the council on how best to solve the problem that is on the increase across the country.

“H&F Council has expressed real ambition for solving rough sleeping and I look forward to working with them,” said Jon.

“Rough sleeping is the sharpest end of the housing and homelessness crisis, and places vulnerable people in situations of real danger.

“The most frustrating thing is that it is not inevitable. In this country in the 21st century we really should be able to work together to tackle this."

He is joined by Michael Angus, manager of the Barons Court Project; Michael Buraimoh, operations director at The Upper Room in Shepherds Bush; Steven Platts, senior project manager at Glass Door and Thomas Neumark, CEO of The Peel Institute.

“Not having a roof over your head in the 21st century is an appalling prospect and working with Jon and the other commissioners, we are determined to do all we can to put an end to it, for good” said Cllr Sue Fennimore, H&F Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion.

“I am very grateful to Jon for agreeing to chair the commission and to the other commissioners. We look forward to reviewing their findings and recommendations for a long term sustainable solution which we hope to be able to share with others.”

Local help

The number of people sleeping rough in H&F is low but those who do are not just cold, hungry and uncomfortable, they often suffer mental and physical health problems and are at risk of aggression and violence.

The commission will gather a wide range of evidence to establish the scale of the problem.

They will talk to those who have experienced rough sleeping and those who help them, to get a detailed picture of what currently works and what could be improved.

Details of the homeless organisations represented on the commission and currently working in the borough are:

If you see someone sleeping rough and you are concerned about them, please contact Streetlink.

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