Rough sleeper stats drop but there is still more to do

February 1, 2019 by Leigh-on-sea.com

The official number of rough sleepers in Southend-on-Sea has dropped as the effects of new schemes and great partnership working are felt.

Volunteers worked overnight on 22/23 November 2018 to get an official count of the number of people sleeping rough on the streets across the borough. The number recorded is 11, a drop from 72 in 2017, where the number was estimated as opposed to counted.

The count involves a number of volunteers walking around the streets of the borough into the early hours, looking at all and any areas where rough sleepers are known to stay.

Gender, nationality and age are also recorded. Of the 11 people sleeping rough, 10 were male, one was female. Of those 11, two were aged 18 to 25 and nine were 26 and over. There were seven UK nationals, 1 EU national and three people whose nationalities were not known. 

Cllr Tony Cox, cabinet member for adults and housing, said: “Whilst it is pleasing to see such a dramatic drop in the figure, we know that there is lots more work yet to be done before we can confidently say we have met the needs of all rough sleepers locally.   

“We are working tirelessly with partner agencies in the local public and charitable sector to deliver support and help to people sleeping rough in our town. This work is integral to our recently agreed Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy which looks at all aspects of housing, the ‘Make a Change’ campaign designed to highlight how giving money can enable a life on the streets, and the launch of our community partnership team patrolling the High Street and other key areas, helping those in need access appropriate homelessness services. 

“All these initiatives are designed to be long term and sustainable thanks to good partnership working. However there is always more to do, and we are confident these changes in our approach have had a positive effect and will continue to do so.”

If you see someone sleeping rough you can report their location to Streetlink: www.Streetlink.org.uk. The referral will send an outreach worker to the location to visit the person and support them to access the support they need.

More information about the ‘Make a Change’ campaign can be found here: www.southendchange.co.uk including myth busting information and challenging preconceptions some people may have.

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