Councillor Keith Aspden has been selected to join the national Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping, which will be chaired by Lord Bob Kerslake, former President of the Local Government Association and former head of the civil service.
An Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from local government, housing, health and homelessness bodies, will examine and learn the lessons from the emergency response which supported people sleeping rough during the Covid-19 pandemic. It aims to help all agencies involved in supporting those who are rough sleeping, or homeless and at risk of rough sleeping, to understand what worked during the pandemic and what is now needed to embed the good practice that was shown during the past year.
Councillor Aspden will join the commission to share learning from local government and on York’s approach to tackling homelessness and rough sleeping. In York, intensive and personalised work by City of York Council and partners continues to offer support to rough sleepers and homeless families. The work is underpinned by the Council’s Homelessness Strategy, focusing on prevention, early intervention and local integrated services that step in when things go wrong. Beds are being offered in a wider variety of accommodation, supporting people to stay in their accommodation and to manage often complex needs that contribute to rough sleeping.
This has been supported by over £433k funding secured from the Rough Sleeping Initiative as well as the extra capacity offered by James House which opened last summer.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Leader of the City of York Council, commented:
“Staff from the council and many partners, including the Salvation Army, continue to work diligently to make sure nobody has to sleep rough in York. Whilst we have been working hard to ensure that everyone who needs support has access to it, there are lessons we can learn from the emergency response regionally and nationally to tackle what remains a major issue.
“I am pleased to join colleagues and experts from across local government to make sure that as we move through the pandemic, the positive lessons of the emergency response and principles of joint working become part of our everyday practice.”
Launching the Commission earlier in March, Lord Kerslake said: 'By general consent Everyone In initiative was a terrific success which made a real and tangible difference to the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable members.
'What I want to do through this Commission is to look at how we can build on this for the future.
'It is an opportunity to learn, and share learning across the public sector, the health sector as well as local and central government. And if we can do that, we will have done something really valuable for this country.'