Rough sleepers in the North Northants Council (NNC) area have been promised extra support with the expansion of a dedicated team to help them find suitable accommodation.
With the weather worsening, NNC’s rough sleeping team is aiming to support people to get off the streets, working in partnership with other agencies to help access wider services.
The team has already supported many rough sleepers to move on from their crisis situation and NNC is encouraging the community to play a part in helping people off the streets by setting up a dedicated email and telephone number so services can be made aware of rough sleepers.
Residents who see anyone sleeping rough can report this to the team by emailing [email protected] or by calling 01536 464 630.
Cllr Andy Mercer, the council’s executive member for housing and community said: “We really want to work with the community on this and we know there are people who really want to help us in making sure rough sleepers get the support they need.
“The council is determined to do all we can to support those experiencing rough sleeping to a life away from the streets.”
As well as accommodation the teams works closely with health, voluntary and community sector partners to identify and support rough sleepers who often have very complex needs.
Hilary Rodgers, a coordinator of St Edward’s Food Kitchen in Kettering, said: “The communication we have with the rough sleeper team is essential for us to support our guests in the best way possible. We regularly have members of the rough sleeper team attend the weekly food kitchen which is a really useful connection for everyone to help our guests get back on their feet.”
Some of those benefiting from the team's intervention have praised the help they received.
A 40-year-old woman who had been rough sleeping said: “Without the help the team has given me I would not be where I am now…..my life is so different and can’t say thank you enough.”
Another woman, 57, said: “With the support of the team I have sorted out my money and housing situation and I wouldn’t have known where to start.”
NNC has secured additional money from government for this year to continue to fund existing initiatives but also to recruit additional team members. This extra funding will increase both the support and accommodation provision for rough sleepers across the area.
Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of the council, added: “Creating cohesive communities is a priority for us – I’m delighted that this great work is taking place in the North Northants area.”
People reporting rough sleepers are asked to provide as much detail as they can in terms of date, time and location, and a description of sleeping bag or tent which will help the team to locate them as quickly as possible.
To report a rough sleeper email [email protected] or call 01536 464 630.