First Step is a collaborative project between South Norfolk Council and Broadland District Council designed to address the needs of rough sleepers across the two districts.
We have two Rough Sleeper Coordinators (Damien and Ben) who are able to provide a rapid response to reports of rough sleepers. Their role is to establish contact, assess the needs of anyone found to be rough sleeping and provide the necessary support to engage with services and to seek more settled accommodation.
In addition you may see our Rough Sleeper Coordinators out and about across our two districts looking for rough sleepers and checking places that people have been known to bed down, to ensure that those who are homeless get the help they need.
Our Rough Sleeper Coordinators can help with access to emergency accommodation as well as providing food and clothing to those who need immediate assistance.
Rough sleeping is defined as ‘people sleeping, or bedded down, in the open air (such as on the streets, or in doorways, parks or bus shelters); people in buildings or other places not designed for habitation (such as barns, sheds, car parks, cars, derelict boats, stations, or ‘bashes’)’.
*A ‘bash’ is a makeshift shelter often comprised of cardboard boxes.
Our Rough Sleeper Coordinators have access to accommodation for those verified as rough sleeping.
Our aim is to help anyone rough sleeping to get off the streets immediately.
Working with a local charity we operate a Somewhere Safe to Stay (SStS) hub which has emergency crash beds for customers accessing the FIRST Step service. This is normally available for a maximum of three nights.
From here we may be able to support customers into medium-term 'Staging Post' accommodation while working with our Housing Solutions team to support customers into long-term, sustainable accommodation.
Access to this accommodation is available through the FIRST Steps project and our Rough Sleeper Coordinators only.
We are very grateful for the assistance provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Notting Hill Genesis, Howdens Joinery, Diss Rotary Club and all our partner agencies for helping us to provide a safe place to stay for those in need of emergency accommodation.
Our Rough Sleeper Coordinators, in addition to helping customers access accommodation to get off the streets, are able to provide support for a wide range of issues and tailor the assistance to the needs of each individual customer.
The assistance we can give may include:
- help with transport
- access to emergency accommodation
- help to access benefits and maximise income
- provision of emergency food and clothing
- verification of those who are rough sleeping
- helping customers to access housing options support to find settled accommodation
- accessing health and other social support services
- assistance to attend appointments
- other assistance specific to the needs of individual customers
If you are not rough sleeping but know or are concerned about someone who is, please contact us and we will try to help that person.
If you are rough sleeping, know someone who is rough sleeping or are concerned because you have seen someone bedded down rough sleeping in South Norfolk or Broadland please contact us and we will do our best to help.
Our Rough Sleeper Coordinators can be contacted by:
Mobile telephone: 07766 446312 or 07721 716577
Office telephone: 01508 533751
Reports of concerns for rough sleepers can also be made on the StreetLink website