Council boss apologises for branding homelessness 'a lifestyle choice' - The Worcester Observer

Council boss apologises for branding homelessness 'a lifestyle choice'

Worcester Editorial 11th Dec, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016   0

A CITY Council officer has apologised after she branded being homeless ‘a lifestyle choice’ during a radio interview.

Nina Warrington, Worcester City Council’s Service Manager for Community Action and Strategic Housing, apologised after using the phrase during a BBC radio interview.

The admission was made following the war of words which erupted after homemade scarves for the city’s homeless were removed from Guildhall railings by the council.

The 91 scarves were given to a hostel in the city.

Ms Warrington said: “I apologise that my choice of words caused offence and were insensitive.

“The council is committed to working with and supporting rough sleepers and I am passionately and personally committed to that aim.

“We go above and beyond our legal obligations in this area. I want to urge rough sleepers to take up the services we and our partners provide, so we can help ensure they do not have to spend another night out on the streets in the cold,” she added.

Worcester City Council works closely with a range of partners to support homeless people and rough sleepers, including the YMCA, St Paul’s Hostel, Maggs Day Centre, Worcestershire Homeless Intervention Team (WHIT) and others. Between us we provide outreach work, referrals to doctors and much more.

The Council operates a No Second Night Out protocol to provide a fast, simple and clear service for people newly arrived on the street. New rough sleepers are moved into an emergency short term shelter while a full housing needs assessment is carried out. The aim is to act early to avoid them becoming long term rough sleepers.

The Council has a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol in place, under which emergency night shelters are opened for rough sleepers if the weather is forecast to drop below zero degrees for three consecutive nights.

Also in place is the “Critical 10 Forum”, under which the council and its partners work with the police, social services, substance misuse specialists and others to work with the most entrenched rough sleepers to help them end their cycle of homelessness.

The Council compiles regular figures on the number of people sleeping rough in Worcester. The latest estimated figure is 27.

Additionally, the Council works with households who are at risk of becoming homeless. This involves providing advice and guidance and, when necessary, short-term emergency accommodation, followed in many cases by a move to permanent housing.


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