Agencies Work Together To House 17 Rough Sleepers During Heatwave – HARP

Agencies Work Together To House 17 Rough Sleepers During Heatwave – HARP

HARP, Southend’s leading homelessness charity, is working closely with its partners at Southend-on-Sea City Council and other local homelessness charities to get local people off the streets, away from the heat and in to temporary accommodation.

With temperatures in Southend reaching the high thirties on Monday, and set to increase on Tuesday, Council officers and local homelessness organisations acted quickly to enact the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, which kicks in when extreme hot or cold weather is forecast for three or more consecutive days.

The coordinated response, which also involves local homelessness organisations Off The Streets, One Love and SVP, has so far seen 17 individuals housed in emergency accommodation.

Active efforts are being made to engage with around a dozen more individuals who have either been so far resistant to offers of accommodation, or are currently unreachable.

Gary Turner, Director of Service Operations at HARP, said: “This is a fantastic example of joined up, collaborative work to protect vulnerable people in our city. Whilst it is of course essential to get people in doors to protect health in the short-term, in the medium to longer-term this is also a fantastic opportunity to engage with people experiencing homelessness, and we plan to put the building blocks in place for ongoing support, which will lead to more permanent housing solutions for many”.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, cabinet member for economic recovery, regeneration and housing, said: “Extreme weather always creates concerns for the safety and wellbeing of some of our more vulnerable members of society. We have a duty to help and I’m very impressed with the quick and collaborative approach taken with the council and local charities, which has helped make sure 17 rough sleepers so far, are safe during this extreme heat.”

HARP is also urgently appealing for factor 50 sun cream and bottled water to distribute to their vulnerable clients. Any members of the public who are able to help with these items are encouraged to donate at HARP’s Bradbury Day Centre, 103-107 York Road, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2DL.

Jamie Langstone
JLangstone@savs-southend.co.uk