Tackling Rural Rough Sleeping at a Local Level

A report launched last week by the Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition, has set out a number of innovative ideas and practical recommendations for combating rural rough sleeping at a local level.

Homelessness in rural England is on the rise, meaning too many people face the danger of having no place to call home. Despite the prevailing image of homelessness as occurring in cities, we know that homelessness can occur anywhere.

Local authorities across England are working tirelessly to prevent and respond to homelessness, but there has often been a lack of attention on the specific needs and realities of homelessness prevention and relief in rural areas. Research by the Universities of Kent and Southampton, in partnership with the Rural Homelessness Count coalition, has found that rural areas face particular challenges. These include physical isolation, the absence of support services and limited transportation options. Insufficient funding in rural areas often pushes people to urban centres. The shame and stigma associated with homelessness in more affluent or rural areas can be a significant barrier to getting support. 

The report, "Evidence-led approaches to tackling rough sleeping in rural communities – local authority practice guide", delves into the unique challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness in rural areas. It emphasises the importance of understanding the distinct nature of rural homelessness, which often goes unnoticed due to its less visible nature compared to urban settings.

This publication is a collaboration between the Rural Homelessness Counts Coalition and the Local Government Association and brings together voices from local government, community leaders, and experts in the field. It explores effective strategies and practices that can be implemented at the local level to address and prevent homelessness in rural areas.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • Understanding the nuances of rural homelessness and barriers that exist in rural communities
  • Best practices from councils that are effectively tackling rural homelessness.
  • Policy recommendations and resources for local authorities and organisations.

This report is not just a collection of data and recommendations, but a call to action for all stakeholders involved. By working together, sharing knowledge, and implementing these strategies, we can make a significant impact in the lives of those affected by rural homelessness.

Full details of the report are available at this link

The Rural Services Network is part of the #ruralhomelessnesscounts Coalition. In the ‘Winning the Rural Vote’ campaign, the RSN calls for a national homelessness strategy that includes investing in solutions in rural areas, taking into account the distinct challenges of rural communities.


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