Everyone sleeping rough in Chelmsford is offered a place to stay
All those confirmed as currently sleeping rough in Chelmsford have been offered accommodation during the second lockdown period. Lib Dem-led Chelmsford City Council is working with other agencies in Essex to ensure that no-one has to sleep rough.
The City Council is ensuring that advice and support - not just accommodation - are provided to those who need it at any stage in this process. Staff are helping all confirmed rough sleepers to make a homelessness application to the Council. To ensure that priority is given to this group, districts identified all those known to be sleeping rough in their area on Friday 6 November. In Chelmsford, that was 16 people.
Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council and of the Liberal Democrats, said, "Last year, our new administration set out our aim of ensuring no-one should have to sleep rough. Covid19 has made it more important than ever that we do not leave our most vulnerable behind.
"Since the first lockdown, we have helped 41 people off the streets and into more settled accommodation. Six more people were offered accommodation but did not wish to take it up.
"However, housing is not enough. We cannot end rough sleeping unless there is wrap-around support from health and social care. That requires input from Essex County Council and the NHS.
"The City Council plans to provide additional accommodation for more people than are currently sleeping rough. We are working on plans to increase the supply of both temporary and genuinely affordable accommodation in Chelmsford. This should mean that there is a much smaller number of people sleeping on our city's streets in future."
Chelmsford's homelessness team is working with rough sleeper outreach services commissioned through Chelmsford CHESS. The aim is to identify all rough sleepers. Some of this work has been funded under the government's 'Protect' programme.
All new rough sleepers identified after Friday 6 November have been provided with assistance to make a homelessness application, so that they can be helped into accommodation. The public are asked to report any new rough sleepers to the City Council via www.streetlink.org.uk so that they can be verified and the right support offered.
Wherever possible, the City Council will work with those in accommodation to bring about long-term improvements in their situation, including preparing a Personal Housing Plan for each person and helping them to access counselling, mentoring and employment.
You can read more about the City Council's policies and strategies for tackling homelessness on https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/housing/homeless-or-at-risk/