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Saturday, 2 February 2013
Being homeless can be a frightening, disempowering and debilitating experience, especially during the winter months.
Those who find themselves in this situation are much more likely to be victims of crime and other kinds of abuse, both from homeless peers and members of the public who recognise their vulnerability.
Cheshire East Council, and its partners in all sectors, recognises the risks to the health, wellbeing and safety of this important minority and works hard to keep as many people off the streets and in warm, comfortable accommodation as it can.
Its housing options team is on hand to assess all cases to try to offer suitable accommodation for anyone deemed to be a homeless person.
This is particularly important during cold spells – when the weather is predicted to be zero degrees or below for three consecutive nights, the Council has a duty to ensure that accommodation is available to those who need it.
In addition, Cheshire East, in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester and Adullam Housing, has introduced a No Second Night Out initiative – a national scheme aimed at reducing the number of entrenched rough sleepers across the country.
It seeks to ensure that any rough sleeper identified across Cheshire is offered immediate and appropriate emergency accommodation, to ensure effective engagement with services and prevent rough sleepers from becoming entrenched.
Councillor Jamie Macrae, Cabinet member with responsibility for prosperity, said: “It is always extremely regrettable to see anybody suffering hardship of this kind and unable to find themselves a home.
“With this in mind, I would urge anyone who has seen someone sleeping rough in Cheshire East to contact our housing options team without delay.
“If a person is threatened with homelessness or is homeless tonight then a housing options advisor will carry out an assessment to determine what duty, if any, they are owed under the Housing Act.”
Generally, homeless people are those who have nowhere to stay or will have nowhere to stay within the next 28 days. People also considered homeless might:
· Have no accommodation in this country or anywhere in the world to occupy;
· Have the right to live in a property but cannot gain access;
· Live in movable accommodation, like a boat or a caravan, but with nowhere permanent to moor or park;
· Have accommodation but due to some exceptional circumstances it would be unreasonable to continue to occupy this;
· Live separately from someone with whom they would normally reside, because there is nowhere they can live together; or
· Have a home, but fear violence from someone.
Further evidence of an applicant’s specific circumstances or a visit to current accommodation may be required.
Cheshire East Council’s housing options team is available on 0300 123 5017 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Those who find themselves with no accommodation outside of these hours should call 0300 123 5025.