Rough sleepers in the county are getting more support than ever after Wiltshire Council appointed two dedicated workers to meet them and work them in their communities. In addition a new initiative has been launched to ensure agencies and council officers work together by attending homeless drop in sessions. This is all part of critical partner collaboration across Wiltshire and last week the council coordinated the first multi-agency drop in session in Chippenham, hosted by Doorway. Jonathon Seed, cabinet member for housing, said: “Over the summer I have been out to visit many of the rough sleepers in Wiltshire to talk to them about what they see as a barrier to getting off the streets and to understand how we can help them to live in a home in Wiltshire. “I visited the drop-in centres to talk to people who have known and helped to care for tough sleepers for many years. Many of the rough sleepers I talked to told me they find it very difficult to get help due to the number of agencies located in different locations across Wiltshire. So we have coordinated multi agency droop in sessions in places where these vulnerable people with complex needs will attend. “I also fully support the newly-created outreach positions as they will really help us reach out to some of the most vulnerable people in our county.” Wiltshire Council has worked to support Government initiatives such as No Second Night Out – which aims to ensure no one new to the streets sleeps out a second night. It also supports the principles of reconnection – where rough sleepers are helped to settle in an area they have connections with, so they can access services and opportunities for housing in that area. In addition, the council supports a multi-agency operational panel which meets regularly and brings together voluntary sector partners and charities, housing providers, police, probation and health services to ensure a joined up approach is adopted to addressing the hard to reach homeless group. Naturally this included the recently-piloted multi-agency drop in session in Chippenham which it is hoped will roll out across Wiltshire. James Cawley, associate director for housing, said: “We recognise that for some long-term rough sleepers, a move into accommodation is a process which is about building trust and having conversations that address all of their issues. We want to address the barriers which prevent them losing any accommodation they move into. “Unfortunately, many who secure accommodation subsequently leave or lose it so solutions are not simply about providing a roof.” Rough sleepers are one of the most vulnerable groups in society, many with very complex needs. The number of rough sleepers across England is increasing and Wiltshire has been no exception. A lack of suitable housing, welfare reform and other social issues have all had a part to play and it is recognised that many rough sleepers have high levels of complex needs; mental health problems, drug and alcohol dependencies, and that institutional experiences are common factors.