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Change Into Action helps rough sleepers

Change Into Action helps rough sleepers
Published on 11 October 2021 Print

In support of  World Homelessness Day Walsall Council is reminding the borough about an alternative ‘giving scheme’ which continues to help rough sleepers in the borough.

The scheme and wider project called ‘Change into Action’ is part of a West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) approach that asks the public to make targeted donations to help the region’s rough sleepers. The Authority is also behind a ‘giving’ website in Walsall, which is administered by local charity ‘One Walsall.  The scheme is an alternative way to give, so people know that their donation will really make a difference to the lives of those who are sleeping rough or who are at risk of doing so.

‘Change into Action’ supports this vulnerable group of people by calling on the expertise of existing services and charities in the borough.  As they are already working with people on the street and have local knowledge, they are able to support them in the most appropriate and sustained way.  Local homelessness agencies, businesses and Walsall council have all given their backing to this approach. 

Agencies working on behalf of rough sleepers will also be able to apply for funding, which could provide such things as new clothing and training for jobs.

If you are concerned that someone is at risk, the scheme also operates an information platform called ‘Streetlink’ – so if anyone is rough sleeping, this can be reported to specialist outreach workers who will offer support.

Councillor Adrian Andrew Portfolio Holder for and Deputy Leader of Walsall Council said:

“Making a donation to Change into Action is an excellent way to get behind World Homelessness Day.  When people see rough sleepers, they understandably want to help. This alternative scheme does exactly that - as donations go to the local charities and street teams who understand homelessness and the wider complexities behind it.

“Donations to ‘One Walsall’ will support these vulnerable people in the longer-term. This means helping rough sleepers in a co-ordinated way to find safe temporary and overnight accommodation, access to healthcare, clothing and eventually training that could eventually lead to a job.

“It is this structured approach that can help people get back on their feet and back into the community.”

Walsall Council’s established approach to tackling and eradicating homelessness and rough sleeping involves a range of specialist partners and housing associations.  It builds on the work of council outreach teams and follows a multi-agency approach that has seen rough sleeping in Walsall fall by over 85% since 2016. 

This work has been recognised by central government, and it recently awarded the Council over half a million pounds to continue these services, which was the highest award per person in the West Midlands.

The generous support of the people of Walsall will help develop this work further. You can find out more about Change into Action in Walsall  here


Notes to editors

Money donated to ‘Change into Action’ supports existing charities, the voluntary sector and street teams to help change the circumstances of rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) developed the Walsall donation website. Schemes are also in operation in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull and Wolverhampton.

  • People can donate money in a targeted way via ‘One Walsall.’ Leading to meaningful change and in the longer term giving rough sleepers better life choices and chances.
  • Central government already views Walsall Council as a good practice model and one that other Local authorities could consider when developing a multi-agency approach.
  • Walsall Council Outreach teams, and its Housing First programme and support from central government has made this possible
  • Since its launch in 2017, the flagship initiative Housing First has housed 100 people and provided them with support. Also, over the last year we have helped an additional 52 people gain secure accommodation who were previously rough sleepers, or at risk of rough sleeping.   
  • The Walsall Homelessness Partnership, has a target that by 2024 no one will sleep rough in Walsall. The council’s Homelessness Strategy 2018 to 2022, can be found here