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Colchester Borough Homes takes further action to support rough sleepers during winter and the growing number of Covid-19 cases

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Working with the Council, Colchester Borough Homes (CBH) has responded to the Government’s Protect and Vaccinate announcement, which asks local councils to ensure rough sleepers receive the support they need during the rising number of Covid-19 cases during the winter.

As the number of cases of the Omicron variant increases, CBH has so far provided accommodation for nine people who were rough sleeping. Working with partners, CBH has supported and encouraged vaccinations and testing for around 200 people who are currently living in temporary accommodation across Colchester.

Residents are encouraged to report someone they think is rough sleeping. They can make CBH aware through Streetlink, either online at streetlink.org.uk or by downloading the Streetlink app. CBH will respond to all Streetlink notifications and will connect anyone who is rough sleeping to the most suitable support.

Colchester Borough Homes is continuing to work with partner organisations to help eradicate rough sleeping in the town. Through a range of support and accessible accommodation CBH will continue to help rough sleepers off the streets and protect their health. This follows the work carried out between April 2020 and March 2021 where 109 people were supported through rough sleeping initiatives and 277 cases of homelessness were prevented or relived.

Colchester Borough Homes Chair of the Board, Dirk Paterson, said:

“I’m incredibly proud of the work CBH has undertaken throughout the entire pandemic to support those who are rough sleeping.

“If residents suspect someone is rough sleeping during winter, it’s so important you let us know through Streetlink. We will respond to every reported case and will work to put in place the correct support.

“I’ve used the app on several occasions and been very impressed at how fast CBH staff have responded to the individual I’ve seen who needed help. Using the app is the best way you can intervene to prevent rough sleeping”.

Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor Andrew Ellis, said: “I would like to thank Colchester Borough Homes and partners for their continued commitment to supporting those who are rough sleeping, and helping to reduce the impact that Covid-19 is having on the borough.

“Winter is already a tough time for vulnerable residents and the growing number of Covid-19 cases means we all need to look out for anyone we suspect in rough sleeping. I encourage residents to use Streetlink so that CBH are aware of anyone who may be sleeping rough.”