Cheshire East Council is urging members of the public to help identify ‘hotspots’ where homeless people sleep rough.
The aim is to assist a national rough sleepers’ count to help gauge and highlight the plight of homeless people and target support earlier and more effectively.
Partner organisations, including Cheshire East Council, Cheshire police and Cheshire fire service, will be volunteering to take part in the count on the night of October 20.
Members of the public who know of any rough-sleeper hotspots are urged to share this information with StreetLink on 0300 500 0914 or via www.streetlink.org.uk
Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for housing and planning, said: “This council is committed to working with partner agencies to make a difference to the lives of vulnerable people in our communities.
“Cheshire East will deliver this through working with partners to ensure prevention of homelessness takes place as early as possible, whenever possible.
“Rough sleeping is not a large-scale problem in Cheshire East, thankfully, however we take each case as a serious issue and seek to be proactive. I would ask for the public’s support in this initiative and look forward to continuing to work with everyone involved to continue to prevent, tackle and reduce homelessness across the borough.”
In 2012, the council launched the No Second Night Out (NSNO) initiative and supported 113 Cheshire East residents between April 2015 and April 2016 and saved them from having to spend more than one night sleeping rough.
No Second Night Out aims to provide between three and seven nights’ accommodation for people who have slept rough for the first time or are about to do so.
In that time, staff work intensively with the individual and try to find longer-term accommodation for them. This can be achieved with the help of private landlords, registered housing providers and supported housing providers. A total of four beds are available for rough sleepers throughout Cheshire East.
Karen Carsberg, Cheshire East Council’s strategic housing manager, said: “This service has proved its worth as a way of intervening at an early stage to prevent people from becoming rough sleepers. This means that people who are going through difficult times are given a chance to get their lives back on track.
“By helping identify places used by rough sleepers it enables us and partners to target support more effectively so none of these vulnerable people has to spend a second night out sleeping on the streets.”