THE new service provider for homeless people and rough sleepers in Cheshire West and Chester has launched a hotline for members of the public to report anyone they see sleeping rough.
The hotline, staffed 24 hours per day on 0300 123 1562, has a dedicated team of outreach professionals able to quickly mobilise and reach individuals across Cheshire West and Chester with the aim of bringing them in to local services.
With recent research indicating that 48% of adults feel guilty when they see a rough sleeper and 46% saying they would welcome an easy way to take action, Foundation Enterprises believes the hotline provides a practical way for members of the public to support their work.
A spokesperson said: “It is really important, particularly as the bad weather kicks in, that members of the public can feel confident of playing their part in helping rough sleepers come in from the cold.
“Reporting a rough sleeper and being able to be assured of a professional and effective response, is often the first vital step on the journey to recovery for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Through a much improved service offer, we are able to ensure that no-one needs to sleep rough in the 21st century.”
Foundation Enterprises (NW) has been established through a joint partnership between Forum Housing Association and Chester and District Housing Trust.
Since going live on their new contract last month, no individual identified to the service has needed to sleep rough.
Welcoming the relaunch of the Rough Sleeping Hotline, the council’s executive member for prosperity, Cllr Herbert Manley, said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council continues committed to ending rough sleeping in the borough and are working in collaboration with Foundation Enterprises North West to achieve this aim.
“Since the new contract began nobody has unnecessarily spent a night on the streets, in fact we have seen an increase in the number of people using the service and I am very pleased to support the launch of the local Rough Sleeper Hotline Number.”
The outreach team will shortly take receipt of a purpose built, modern outreach vehicle with on board shower, refreshments and seating facilities.
This will further extend Foundation Enterprises services to rough sleepers and ensure that individuals who may have been previously reluctant to engage with a service are provided with the best possible chance to do so.