This week sees the launch of a new scheme which aims to coordinate groups that help the homeless in order to provide more effective and targeted support. The Homeless Outreach Accreditation Scheme will be launched on Thursday 8 October and will bring together about 25 voluntary organisations in Birmingham with a shared commitment to helping homeless people.

Birmingham City Council’s cabinet member for Neighbourhood Management and Homes, Cllr John Cotton, who leads on the city’s homelessness strategy said: “There are lots of voluntary groups across the city involved in supporting homeless people.  These groups do a brilliant job of providing basics like food and blankets but there is so much more we could do if we all worked together.

“Every time groups engage with homeless people we think there is an opportunity to provide additional support that might be needed like medical help with mental health issues, alcohol or drug addiction or advice on how they can secure a roof over their heads and avoid sleeping rough.

“By bringing voluntary groups and registered charities together with statutory services we can look at helping people in a more effective way, coordinating with outreach and medical support and avoiding duplication of food runs too.”

Raj Shroff, Deputy Director for Care and Support at Midlands Heart, one of the outreach organisations supporting the initiative said: “This is an excellent initiative which we fully support.  Our outreach team are trained to engage with people that are sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham each and every day. We know that there are also a number of other organisations who are committed to support homeless people and the accreditation will mean that together we can have an even greater impact through a much more coordinated approach.”

During the day organisations and groups will pledge to sign up to the scheme.  They will then put forward members of their groups to take part in a training programme before becoming fully accredited outreach workers.

During the day people will hear contributions from Cllr John Cotton, Birmingham’s Victims Champion Cllr Sharon Thompson, the chair of Birmingham Street Homeless Multi-agency Partnership John Hardy and Inspector Gareth Morris from West Midlands Police.  There will also be a performance of ‘There’s No Place like Home’ by pupils at Rookery Primary School.