Joined the campaign: February 2017
Who’s involved? The campaign in Leicester is led by local homelessness charity Action Homeless. It forms part of Leicester’s Homelessness Charter, a co-ordinated approach to tackling homelessness, which successfully brings together different organisations from across the city, including Leicester City Council, De Montfort University, The Bridge Leicester, Inclusion Healthcare, One Roof Leicester, BID Leicester, The Diocese of Leicester and many others.
What has happened so far? Leicester ran their first Connections Week in November 2017. Volunteers, including many from De Montfort University, went out on the streets, to day centres, and other services to talk with those sleeping rough and find out about their needs. In total, 91 people were surveyed and a large majority were found to be extremely vulnerable. During the Week various people were offered emergency accommodation to help them off the street. The findings were presented at a community event, which you can read more about in this report.
The Connections Week was the first time in 16 years that there had been a full survey of homeless people in the city. Many of the people who were surveyed had not previously been known to services. The Connections Week was able to show a more realistic picture of those sleeping on the streets resulting in more people accessing support.
As a result of the campaign, the Leicester Homelessness Charter was launched in October 2018. It has signatories that include statutory bodies – including the City Mayor, charities, community groups, businesses, faith groups and the public. The Charter brings together all these groups committed to ending homelessness. Part of their focus has been on fundraising for homelessness services – they have successfully installed 16 contactless giving-points across the city.
In 2019, people who have experienced homelessness worked with the campaign in Leicester to help shape future homelessness services. This has been supported by World Habitat’s Innovation Grant. In 2021, Leicester’s Homelessness Charter received an Innovation Grant to further explore how individuals with no recourse to public funds were affected by homelessness in the city.
As part of Leicester’s emergency response to COVID-19, 130 rough sleepers were housed in hotels and student accommodation – 20 of whom were supported into permanent homes. Find out about the full emergency response from Leicester and other campaign cities in our report: Responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
What’s next? Action Homeless has been awarded a Housing First Grant of £310,000 from The Henry Smith Charity. The programme, which is soon to reach its first anniversary, is the first of its kind in Leicester, and has provided support to 7 people to date. The project will expand in 2022 and the caseload will increase to 18 by the end of 2023.