Police and council support for homeless in Wolverhampton
For our penultimate edition of the Helping the Homeless campaign for Wolverhampton, it's time to find out how authorities in the city help those in trouble. We spoke to Inspector Sarah Thomas West from West Midlands Police and also Richard O'Leary and Anthony Walker, both involved in services at Wolverhampton City Council.
Inspector Thomas West told us that, for them, there are just 7 people classed as homeless: "The majority of people we see on the street begging aren't homeless. People see people begging, they think they're homeless, they're giving them money; whereas we know that they have residencies within Wolverhampton.
"They're the ones that we engage with because we know, there might still be addiction issues, but they're much more au fait with the criminal justice system and they're the ones that upset people when they get off the train."
Wolverhampton City Council have recently changed some of the services on offer for people struggling with housing. Housing Options Manager, Richard O'Leary, told us: "We run a daily drop in service fron the Civic Centre between 9am and 12.30pm every day. It's not just for people who are homeless today, but people who might be homeless in the future or are having issues with their housing. Sometimes it's about assistance so it could be negotiating with landlords or benefit claims."
Service Manager for Homeless Strategy, Anthony Walker, explains what homeless means to them: "There are a large number of people who are actually in accomodation who are very close to homelessness. There are a large number of people we deal with who are teetering on the brink of having nowhere to stay.
"It is more than just a roof. It's about introducing people to things such as education, employment; introducing them to life skills, things which potentially they've never actually thought of doing themselves."
Did you miss our full news special from Day 4? Listen again: