Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 12°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Colchester: Task force to tackle rising homelessness as number of rough sleepers triples in three years

18:05 14 July 2014

Figures from Colchesters Draft Homelessness Strategy 2014  2019, published by the borough council, found the number of rough sleepers across the town has increased from 10 in 2010 to 35 in 2013. Photo: Michael Walter/PA Wire

Figures from Colchesters Draft Homelessness Strategy 2014  2019, published by the borough council, found the number of rough sleepers across the town has increased from 10 in 2010 to 35 in 2013. Photo: Michael Walter/PA Wire

Archant

Work to tackle entrenched homelessness in Colchester will significantly be stepped up after it emerged the number of rough sleepers in the town has tripled in three years.

shares

A multi-agency task force has been drawn up to help vulnerable people living on the streets reconnect with society and lifestyles they may have been forced to abandon.

The five-year plan set out by Colchester Borough Council will help homeless people find suitable accommodation; overcome mental health, alcohol and drug problems; and end a cycle of crime.

The new initiative was last night backed by Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell, who also claimed rough sleepers were “migrating” to the town because of its growing reputation of providing services which turn around the lives of vulnerable people.

It comes as figures from Colchester’s Draft Homelessness Strategy 2014 – 2019, published by the borough council, found the number of rough sleepers across the town has increased from 10 in 2010 to 35 in 2013.

Tina Bourne, cabinet member for housing at Colchester Borough Council, said this was an “honest reflection” as people had been found living in rural areas such as woodland in addition to town centre streets.

Nationally, homelessness has risen for the past three years, while almost one in 10 people have experienced homelessness.

Sir Bob said: “Because Colchester has a proud record of providing assistance for homeless people, we are a place that homeless people migrate to because we have an excellent night shelter for homeless people.

“If a community does not provide accommodation for people, then a community like Colchester will be a focal point for homeless people to go to.”

He said homelessness was a consequence of the failure of successive governments over the last 30 years to build sufficient low-cost houses in the public sector.

“We need more affordable housing, but at least this Coalition government is building more social houses,” he added.

“One homeless person is one too many and we need to ensure that the greater problem of families in desperate needs is uppermost in our minds.”

The Colchester Emergency Night Shelter in Alexandra Road and a Shelter site in Crouch Street provide emergency housing.

Mrs Bourne said a holistic approach involving multiple agencies including the Probation Service – to prevent rough sleepers from “lapsing back” into a life of crime – mental health, alcohol and drug support groups, homeless centres and housing associations will work with the council to tackle homelessness.

She said: “Long-term entrenched rough sleepers need guidance and practical, long-term solutions. We feel a comprehensive multi-agency approach backed up by action will prevent homelessness and support prevention work.

“We need to reconnect them to society – reconnect them to a lifestyle they may have totally dropped out of – with structure and that takes a lot of support.

“We will provide them with the information they need to get into the right frame of mind so they can apply for sensible housing. Just providing them with a house is not going to sort out their property issues. They may not be able to afford the tenancy.

“We will also be working with the Department for Work and Pensions. Some rough sleepers may qualify for benefits but cannot get them because they do not have a bank account for example.”

Councillors will meet every month to discuss the progress being made.

shares

1 comment

  • This situation is the result of thatcher selling off Council Homes to buy herself votes !, any idiot can 'Asset Strip' a country !, but the long term effects will just carry on !. The 'practice' of selling both Council and Housing Association Homes should be stopped !, what is the point of continuing to build more of which many will eventually end up owned by Investors ?

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Monday, July 14, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Gerald West leaves Ipswich Crown Court

Oakwood School’s former deputy head teacher and one of its care workers have been given 12-month conditional discharges for assaulting pupils.

The old Oakwood School in Stowmarket.

The former headteacher of a Suffolk school has been jailed for seven years for sexual offences against children.

Image issued by the British Geological Survey of a graphic showing where an earthquake struck in Sandwich, Kent. Photo: British Geological Survey

Earth tremors have been felt in Suffolk and Essex after a 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck Kent.

The A12. Library image.

A lorry and van have crashed on the A12 near Wickham Market after a blow-out tyre puncture.

Paul Flatman has been sentenced after more than 6,000 chickens died at Hawksmill Farm

A farmer has been ordered to pay more than £12,000 and has been given a suspended prison sentence for failing to animal welfare advice.

Police Officers. Picture: Ian Burt

Two officers who were based at Braintree have been dismissed from Essex Police for gross misconduct.

James Rowe with his sisters, Amy and Beth

A father has spoken out about his 24-year-old son’s untimely death in a bid to prevent another “avoidable tragedy” as a result of diabetes.

Passengers are delayed at stations including at Ipswich, Norwich and Colchester 


Picture by Jerry Turner

Rail passengers faced delays of up to 45minutes due to a broken down train between Kelvedon and Witham.

Members of the local tai chi group in Ufford

It may not have the high-flying kicks and karate chops of some martial arts – but the ancient Chinese technique of tai chi is proving a knockout among practitioners in Suffolk.

British and American airborne engineers worked together to develop their key skills of building and repairing runways

British and American airborne engineers worked together to develop skills at a Suffolk base.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages