BID chief executive Bill Addy says a ‘unified approach’ is needed to tackle homelessness as he backed Street Support Liverpool which has proved successful in other cities. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool BID company, which represents 1,500 businesses across the city centre, is urging local companies to join a new drive to tackle homeless and rough sleeping.
BID chief executive Bill Addy says a “unified approach” is needed to tackle homelessness which affects more than 300,000 people across the UK and is increasingly evident on the streets of Liverpool both in the retail and commercial districts.
He is urging BID members to sign up to the BID-funded and supported Street Support Liverpool – a network working online and offline, connecting and supporting local people and organisations to end homelessness.
It includes people with personal insight into homelessness, decision makers and those with resources can come together in one forum to co-create effective solutions to the crisis and has already proven successful in cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Southampton.
The aim is for the initiative to become a one-stop-shop where people can find out about homelessness, see what services are available, from food and accommodation to financial and employment support, and see what help you can give.
Street Support Liverpool can complement and supports a number of successful schemes already in place across the city region, including Liverpool City Council’s ‘Always Room Inside’ campaign and the Metro Mayor’s ‘Housing First’ scheme.
Mr Addy said: “While Liverpool is ahead of the game compared to other cities around the country, we still need to do more. We have some great initiatives in place already, but now is the time for a more collaborative and coordinated approach between the public, private and third sectors in finding a long-lasting solution together.
“This is a challenge that affects us all on a daily basis. The BID and the 1,500 BID levy paying businesses that we represent are committed to ending homelessness and collectively we can achieve that.
“I encourage the business community to get behind and engage with Street Support Liverpool. While it is just one part of the solution, it is a fantastic platform where people can find and offer help all in one place.”
According to figures issued by Shelter last autumn, there is now a total of 214 people homeless in the Liverpool area (181 are stuck in temporary accommodation, including hostels and B&Bs, while 33 are rough sleeping).
Of a population of 491,549 the figures rank Liverpool 235th on a national scale and 15th regionally. In comparison, Manchester City Council area reports a total 4,042 people homeless.
MrAddy’s comments come as over 200 people from the private sector attended the ‘Homelessness and Rough Sleeping – Who Cares?’ event, held at Liverpool Parish Church (Our Lady and Saint Nicholas).
Organised by Community Foundation for Merseyside (CFM), as part of its 20th anniversary, key speeches came from the Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram; Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson; Peter Moore, CEO, LFC; Steven Connolly, estate director, Liverpool ONE; Jon Sparkes, CEO, Crisis; and Andy Cooke, chief constable of Merseyside Police.