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ROCHFORD Council has urged residents to report rough sleepers to a new service, which will send staff to speak to them and try to help them off the streets.
The district council said it was partnering with the Churches Homeless Emergency Support Scheme (CHESS), which provides temporary accommodation to rough sleepers and puts them in touch with services that can help them.
But in order for the council and CHESS to help rough sleepers – who are often unable to seek out assistance for themselves – it has asked residents to report the location of rough sleepers via a website.
A council spokesman said: “Although homelessness is often seen as the cause of rough sleeping, many people have a range of other support needs, including mental and physical health – so by working with CHESS, the council seeks to help individuals access support services that minimise the risk of them returning to rough sleeping in future.”
Rob Saggs, CEO of CHESS, said he was ‘pleased’ to be working with Rochford Council.
He said: “Being able to offer this outreach with our team will provide a friendly face to those rough sleeping, as well as the officer of support and help to live a life off the streets.
“We are keen to build strong relationships in the district and to build up a supporter and volunteer base to help the homeless.”
Louisa Moss, Rochford Council’s assistant director for people and communities, added: “The council and CHESS will link as best as possible with existing local services, such as local churches, foodbanks, housing related support services and other local community groups.
“By gaining a better understanding of the causes and support needs of those who become street homeless, it is hoped that the council can work with partners to further improve its record for prevention of homelessness, including the ability of others to recognise risks and engage with the council sooner rather than later.”
*To report the location of a rough sleeper, visit www.streetlink.org.uk.