Cheshire East Council has received welcome funding to support its programme to eradicate rough sleeping in the borough.
The council appointed a rough sleeping coordinator, along with an outreach team, and has made beds available in Macclesfield and Crewe to encourage rough sleepers to come off the streets.
A further £388,303 has been made available to the council through the government’s rough sleeping initiative, to enable Cheshire East’s housing team to continue its work with rough sleepers and offer short-term sheltered accommodation, avoiding the need to sleep in doorways and parks.
The funding will also enable outreach workers, already engaged with people who are rough sleeping, to source both emergency and longer-term accommodation.
The service was launched in October 2018 and so far 104 people have been assisted by the Cheshire East Council team working with the YMCA in Crewe, voluntary and faith groups, community organisations and housing providers.
The council’s rough sleeping programme also works as a support programme for the homeless in need of long-term help and advice. It also seeks to bring stability to the lives of people who have been living on the streets, guiding them towards settled accommodation and enabling them to move forward.
Karen Carsberg, Cheshire East Council’s head of housing, said: “Thankfully, we have a low number of people sleeping rough in the borough – but one person sleeping on the streets is still one too many.
“Homelessness is an issue that we are determined to deal with in the most positive and sensitive way.
“We are eager to tackle the harmful effects of homelessness, such as the impact on family life and children, the potential harm to an individual’s physical and mental health, their self-esteem, confidence and loss of employment.
“A number of factors can contribute to homelessness. However, we are pleased that the measures we have in place are leading to more cases of successful prevention, with a year-on-year rise in numbers of people avoiding homelessness.”
While the council’s homelessness team will attempt to assist anyone found to be sleeping rough, the authority has no powers to remove them but would encourage anyone who wishes to report a person sleeping rough to do so by calling 0300 123 5017.