Government figures reveal four homeless people died in North Somerset last year

Four homeless people died in North Somerset last year. Picture: Carol Thacker.

Four homeless people died in North Somerset last year. Picture: Carol Thacker. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The number of homeless people who died in North Somerset rose in 2018, according to Government statistics.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found four homeless people died on North Somerset's streets last year, but none died in the two years preceding 2018.

In 2014 there were two identified deaths across the area, followed by one the following year.

A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "A multi-agency group co-ordinates action to reduce rough sleeping in North Somerset.

"All members of the partnership, which includes North Somerset Council, Weston Town Council, local charities, health professionals and the police, believe that everyone should have a safe and suitable home to sleep in and no-one should have to sleep rough."

MORE: Working group formed to tackle homelessness in Weston.

North Somerset was successful in bids to the Government's Rapid Rehousing Pathway and Rough Sleeper Initiative Funds and these have been used to help fund the Weston Night Assessment Centre (WNAC) and a day service.

Since November 2018, organisations and charities such as Somewhere To Go, the YMCA, and the councils have been working together to facilitate night time provision for people sleeping rough across the area.

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Homelessness rose by a third in North Somerset last year and the district's rates are significantly higher than South Gloucestershire and Sedgemoor.

The WNAC operates a referral-only system whereby up to 12 individuals have a safe place to sleep each night where they can access and engage with various services to help with accommodation and support needs.

As a result of £50,000 funding from North Somerset Council, the day service at Somewhere To Go now provides a five-day service.

A council spokesman added: "The five-day service will provide more opportunities for rough sleepers to engage with, and have access to, the help they need to move away from the streets.

"The funding has also been used to create an expanded outreach team based with the YMCA, and extra workers to help with assessment and prevention, co-ordination and tenancy support.

"This now gives a dedicated service to those at risk or those already sleeping rough and complements the work of the WNAC and the day centre."