Statement from Cllr. Debra Coupar, Executive Member for Communities
Commenting on the tragic death of a rough sleeper found in Leeds city centre this morning, Cllr Debra Coupar, Executive Member for Communities said:
“It is heart-breaking to hear that a woman has died in these circumstances and our thoughts and condolences are with the deceased’s family and friends.
“The council works with a range of partners across the city to prevent homelessness and support those who are homeless or sleeping rough. Support is available to everyone that chooses to accept it.
“In this case, Leeds City Council and other agencies have continually engaged with and supported this individual over a number of years. She had an active council house tenancy and was receiving ongoing support.
“We can’t force people to take up support but we are working hard to better understand why people choose not to access the support available which includes complex challenges such as addiction, mental health and social care needs.
“Within the last 12 months we have introduced our Street Support Team initiative and our Housing First policy to support and safeguard all those who choose to rough sleep, beg or are homeless in our city. We work with a broad range of people and organisations across the city to put in place the most appropriate support and intervention.
“Rough sleeping and homelessness reflects the diversity of people in our city. This includes factors such as gender, ethnicity, disability and more, and consequently we know we need to deal with people as individuals whose specific issues need to be properly understood and addressed."