Community News From Around our Area

Solihull is Leading the Way with Homeless Scheme, says Mayor

West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, says Solihull is leading the way in dealing with homelessness thanks to a pioneering scheme which is ensuring donations from kind locals make a real difference in the borough.

Mr Street, who heads up the West Midlands Combined Authority, says the Change into Action scheme which was launched in Solihull last year is now helping improve the lives of the area’s homeless. “Rough sleeping across the West Midlands is completely unacceptable and shames us as a region,” he said.

“Thankfully, compared to other areas, Solihull has fewer people who regularly sleep rough, however there are now more people who are homeless and at risk of sleeping rough. There are also a growing number of people across the borough who beg.

“As someone who grew up in Solihull, I know how generous Silhillians are by nature, and the way local people have backed Change into Action is testament to that community spirit. It is a scheme that works at a hyper-local level, by ensuring money donated goes into Solihull to support those at risk of rough sleeping.

“The battle to end homelessness has been incredibly difficult but Change into Action has been a real positive and we are aiming to roll it out across the rest of the West Midlands.”

Change into Action is an alternative giving scheme which helps local specialist charities and street teams operating in the borough to support rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping.

Donations can be made online at changeintoaction.org.uk/solihull or by visiting one of the collection points which are currently at Sporting Barbers and Specsavers on Solihull High Street, William Hill on Station Road, Solihull, Touchwood Solihull and at Asda, Parkgate Shopping Centre, Shirley.

Mr Street is being credited with bringing about a change in direction to how the region tackles homelessness. Alongside Change into Action, he also helped introduce another project – Housing First – to the UK after seeing its success in Scandinavia.

Housing First provides homes, support and guidance to rough sleepers and has already helped more than 100 people off the streets.

“The only way we are going to be able to ‘design out’ homelessness – the aim of the West Midlands Homelessness Task Force – is by facing up to our moral responsibility and working collaboratively,” Mr Street said.

“Projects like Change into Action and Housing First have shown that we can break the cycle of people ending up on the streets and give rough sleepers the chance of a genuine new start in life. I’m delighted that Solihull people are at the forefront of this very important change in direction.”

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