‘Silver lining’ work completed to house vulnerable Essex people on World Homelessness Day
As world homelessness day approaches on 10th October, Essex County Council and its partners in the county are encouraged by the work carried out this year to house people sleeping rough.
In March 2020, the Government tasked Local Authorities to accommodate all rough sleepers as part of the public health response to COVID-19.
Since then, Essex County Council (ECC), city, district & borough councils, local organisations and partners including the NHS and Essex Police have come together to make this happen.
The work completed to provide all people sleeping rough in Essex with stable housing has been hailed as a ‘silver lining’ to the challenges faced this year by county residents coping with measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
As part of this response, since 26 March around 350* rough sleepers across the county have been temporarily housed in hotels, temporary housing and B&Bs, receiving a host of additional support along the way.
Over the next week in the run up to World Homelessness Day on October 10th, Essex County Council will be telling the stories of homeless people it has helped over the past few months, to show how homelessness could happen to anyone.
Peabody and Phoenix Futures, both of whom are commissioned by ECC, are working with rough sleepers across the County to develop personalised support plans to identify a range of needs including mental health, drug and alcohol misuse, employment as well as informing housing needs.
In turn, city, district and borough colleagues are working hard to identify and source appropriate accommodation to ensure that as many rough sleepers as possible are permanently housed as they transition from emergency/temporary accommodation. Alongside, ECC will ensure those individuals will continue to receive the necessary support to enable them to sustain tenancies and or remain housed.
In September 2019 Essex County Council in partnership with Chelmsford , Maldon, Rochford, Epping Forest and Braintree districts launched the Essex Rough Sleeper Outreach Service, the new approach to assisting those in need and providing a street outreach service. Since its launch, the service has engaged with over 158 rough sleepers.
The partnership is delivered by CHESS (Churches Homeless Emergency Support Scheme) a Homelessness Charity that seeks to relieve homelessness and related hardship and distress amongst single adults in Chelmsford and Essex, through the provision of support services and temporary accommodation that helps them move on.
On the 24th June 2020 the Government announced an additional £105 million rough sleeper Covid-19 funding for England, known as The Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP). This funding was to be used to support rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness into tenancies of their own, including help with deposits for accommodation, and securing thousands of alternative rooms already available and ready for use, such as student accommodation.
If a member of the public sees a rough sleeper, it does not mean authorities are not working with them, it could be they are not ready to take up the offer and local organsations are continuing to work with them until they are ready.
If you are concerned about a particular rough sleeper, who is over 18, visit www.streetlink.org.uk
If you are concerned about a rough sleeper who is under 18, please call 999