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Proactive support leads to reduction in rough sleeping

Proactive work by Colchester Borough Homes in partnership with Colchester Borough Council has led to a reduction in rough sleeping across the borough

The rough sleeping count is a single night snapshot of the number of people sleeping rough in the local authority area.

In 2018 the Colchester count was carried out on the night of 23 November and followed national guidance.  The count followed an intelligence gathering process conducted with local agencies who offer support to homeless people. This year 13 people were found rough sleeping which is down from 20 counted at the same time last year.

Last year, Colchester Borough Council were successful in securing funding to tackle rough sleeping from the MHCLG, which has helped to support the considerable work that has taken place throughout the winter to reduce rough sleeping. 

Colchester Borough Homes has employed two outreach workers, who are working at various times from early morning to late at night to encourage people they find rough sleeping to take up support or accommodation.  Since early December they have found a home for at least 12 people who would otherwise have been sleeping rough.

By developing a range of solutions, which include housing first inspired accommodation, people have been helped off the streets.  Some people will still sleep rough, and not accept help available due to their complex individual issues. 

In Colchester, a number of organisations work closely together to reduce, prevent and support rough sleepers.  Throughout the year, 24 hours a day, people are working to help those who are rough sleeping.  The best opportunity to get people off the street is through this professional help and support.  This work is being supported by the work undertaken through Town Centre Action Plan, a partnership between the Council and Essex Police to tackle a range of issues in the town centre.

Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, Councillor Tina Bourne said: "I am pleased that Colchester is reducing the number of rough sleepers at a time when such problems are increasing nationally. 

"Changing lifestyles is challenging and can take time, but by working in a co-ordinated way with partnership organisations we have achieved some positive outcomes for people. We will continue to work hard to create a Better Colchester for everyone." 

The next steps are to continue building on this work, aiming to:

· Help rough sleepers access available support

· Encourage everyone to help by using the Street Link app, which will be responded to by the Outreach workers.

· By supporting local organisations through volunteering, or giving goods or donations rather that giving directly to rough sleepers            

If you would like to get involved to help rough sleepers and potentially save lives, we have a volunteer role that you could be a part of, to support the rough sleeping Severe Weather Emergency Protocol. Find our more: https://bit.ly/2BcoOOB

Full figures available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/rough-sleeping-in-england-autumn-2018

Interview opportunities available with new rough sleeping outreach team.

For further information please contact communications@colchester.gov.uk or 078150 88150.

If you see someone sleeping rough, visit www.streetlink.org.uk, download the free mobile app for Apple and Android, or call 0300 500 0914.   

Better Colchester is a dynamic two-year action plan to help deliver the aims and objectives of the council's overarching strategic plan. Around £2 million has been set aside to deliver proposals that will make Colchester an even better place to live, work in and visit. Find out more at www.colchester.gov.uk/bettercolchester