Housing rough sleepers in Chelmsford, five years on from fining
Five years ago, hundreds of Chelmsford residents marched (and many more signed a petition) - all concerned about a Public Space Protection Order with plans for £100 fines (from then-Conservative Chelmsford City Council).
Since the Liberal Democrats took on the leadership of the City Council, things have changed. The Council voted last week for funds to provide new support for rough sleepers and the other 250 or so homeless families in Chelmsford.
Lib Dem Leader Stephen Robinson, said: "Five years ago I was one of those who marched. Now as Council Leader, I and Chelmsford Lib Dem colleagues voted for funds to ensure that no-one has to sleep rough on the streets.
"The Conservatives and Independents voted AGAINST the budget that will deliver this work.
"Twelve months ago we committed to buy 20 homes locally for homeless families. We only need to buy a couple more to meet this target and will have done so shortly.
"Over the last 12 months, the City Council has also housed well over 30 rough sleepers. Every rough sleeper is offered accommodation and support; most accept the Council's offer and we continue to try to support those that don't.
Solving the complex problems behind the scandal of homelessness and rough sleeping is not easy, but we will not stop this essential work."
In 2019, the City Council passed a new homelessness and rough sleeping strategy that goes well beyond the Government's minimum requirements