Rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness and the number of people sleeping rough across the UK, particularly in its larger cities, has increased in recent years.
While it is far from being the only form of homelessness, a new initiative from The Salvation Army -who have partnered with a specialist Lancashire based company ‘Protectal’ - is seeing the pioneering use of so called ‘NAPpads’ being used to offer pop up accommodation to rough sleepers.
The causes of homelessness and rough sleeping are many and varied but the increasing cost of rents, the affordability of housing alongside a shortage of affordable homes plus a range of social and health factors have led to a year on year increase.
The Salvation Army already offer accommodation to people who are homeless through their lifehouses (supported accommodation) and churches. Here people can find basic accommodation, meals and keep warm and safe for the night - but they wanted to do more.
This new trial is now running in York and is being supported by City of York Council, who have temporarily provided land for the scheme and support for those using the NAPpads.
Each NAPpad is self-contained with toilet and wash facilities, a metal security door secured by SALTO, window, power point, heater and LED light. They are also fitted with non-invasive 'vital life signs' sensors that can detect if the occupant stops breathing, enabling emergency services to be alerted and giving an ambulance crew the chance to save a life.
What did they need?
Colin Dilloway, Director of Access Control & CCTV at SALTO Partner TMB Systems, says, “We already do a lot of work with The Salvation Army so we were very pleased to be invited to be part of this initiative. The customer needed a portable solution that was self-contained so we established that a cloud-based system was the best solution. SALTO had just such a product in the form of their SALTO KS Keys as a Service cloud access control platform.”
“The NAPpad is fitted with a weatherproof KS connected SALTO wall reader with integral pin keypad, working alongside an Eagle Eye Networks integration with a CCTV camera. A pin number given to the rough sleeper by a Salvation Army support worker is entered into the keypad which then releases a maglock on the door via an online connection giving them access to the pad” Dilloway concludes.
SALTO KS delivers reliability and recognised stability to cloud access control. It provides a flexible management system that requires no software installation nor cost of a fully wired electronic product - an online device with an Internet connection is all that is needed.
Steven Brackfield, Procurement Manager for The Salvation Army, comments, “This first trial of the NAPpad concept means we can keep people safe as well as warm and dry by providing dignified sanctuary away from the insecurity and uncertainty of a night on the streets. Tackling homelessness will take a lot of work, but with this first step assisted by the use of technology from SALTO and TMB Systems, we can not only offer a warm bed, a locked door and safety but also a chance to meet our support team to explore more permanent housing and support options for the individual."
For further information about the NAPpad: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/homelessness/nap-pads