SHOC do a regular count on street sleepers and our latest information is that over 50 people are currently sleeping rough around Slough. We estimate this is a 25 year high and our information is that it includes both Eastern Europeans and UK citizens. Eastern Europeans who have not paid National Insurance do not have access to State help. Often these guys are caught in a poverty trap of not having enough money to survive here but also not enough money to go back home. There are longer term solutions that can help address this, but sleeping rough can be the only short term answer.
The UK guys sleeping rough, are not ranked as a priority for housing which is limited to the elderly, families with young children and people with severe mental health issues . There is only 1 hostel in Slough for those over 25 and when this is full, the only option is rented accommodation through private landlords. There is now a shortage of rented places because London Boroughs are housing their homeless in Slough as it’s cheaper. Slough Borough Council are only obliged to offer crisis accommodation when the temperature drops below zero. Again, sleeping rough often ends up being the only short term solution .
SHOC are working on trying to help these guys in the longer term but short term crisis help can be given by by donating a sleeping bag or donating money to SHOC for a sleeping bag through the website, just leave a message saying it’s for the sleeping bag campaign.
If you have a sleeping bag to donate, please drop it at SHOC Serenahall, Burlington Ave, Slough, SL1 2JT. Meanwhile here are more details in a piece that was printed in the Slough Observer last week.