A safe place to call home

Addressing Homelessness in South Somerset 2021 – 2023

In 2021 we started a pilot scheme in South Somerset to get a better understanding of working with people facing homelessness.

Our report ‘A safe place to call home’ details different situations that can lead to homelessness and highlights how complex cases can be, with many underlying issues that make matters worse, harder to resolve and, when the right support is not available, can lead to a ‘revolving door’ effect.

Traditionally, being ‘homeless’ is thought of as rough sleeping, but homelessness also includes people who are facing eviction, living in emergency accommodation or sofa surfing with friends or family. We soon realised that if people are dealing with their problems informally, like staying with family, they are hidden from statistics and services – they are the hidden homeless.
Val Bishop, Chief Executive, Community Council for Somerset.

This report data is based on 70 individuals who were supported by the Homelessness Village Agent between January 2021 – August 2023, 42 of which are male and 28 of which are female.

What happens next

The face-to-face and on-going support that a specialist Homelessness Agent can provide does change lives. Nearly half (44%) of the people we supported during the pilot scheme, are now living in a permanent safe place to call home.

The next phase of our programme is to look wider than South Somerset, and try to understand the challenge across Somerset.

Off the back of the pilot scheme, we are funding one Agent in the East of Somerset for the next six months to focus on two areas, one rural, one urban – researching the needs and differences between them. As part of their role, they will also be undertaking a piece of research across the county, which will inform future work.

If you would like to talk to us about this report, please get in touch with us.