It’s hard to walk past homeless people on the street without doing something. Some dig into their pockets for change, while others might offer to buy something to eat. But this only provides immediate relief.
Rough sleepers can be referred (and self-referred) to our newly expanded outreach team by visiting www.streetlink.org.uk. Upon receiving a Streetlink referral, our outreach officers will visit the person and support them to access accommodation and support from services such as HARP, and the Council. This could include physical/mental health and drug and alcohol support too. You can also encourage rough sleepers to self-refer to Streetlink or to approach HARP’s Bradbury Day Centre on 103-107 York Road, Southend on Sea, SS1 2DL.
Once people begin sleeping rough, however, they can get stuck in a cycle of living on the streets. Substance addictions and other problems can develop, and it becomes very difficult for them to break out of this. When offered accommodation, they may not accept it, or if they do, they may continue to spend time on the streets because of a continuing dependency on a begging income, a social network or other issues.
Giving someone spare change enables and even encourages life on the streets.
We and our partner organisations are working to encourage people to come off the streets - or, if they are not street homeless, to cease begging and access proper support. These long-term solutions can only work if they are willing and able to engage with us.
If you really want to help a rough sleeper leave the streets for good, please help us to make a real change. If you see someone who you think may be homeless, there are ways you can directly help them without giving them money.
Anyone homeless or at risk of becoming homeless can contact the council’s Housing Solutions Team for advice by calling 01702 215002 or by coming to the Civic Centre and asking to see the Housing Solutions Team. If eligible for assistance and homeless or at risk of homelessness within the next 56 days, the team will work with the applicant to put a personal housing plan in place.
Homeless charity Shelter can also offer advice via phone or online chat, and provide a range of useful information regarding housing & homelessness on their website: england.shelter.org.uk