Published 27th March 2020

All Southend-on-Sea rough sleepers have been provided emergency accommodation in hotels as part of the coordinated approach to tackle coronavirus.

The hard work has been ongoing by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s housing and homelessness teams, along with local homeless charities and community support services, and these measures come into immediate effect after the Government stated that for the welfare of rough sleepers and volunteers and staff, night shelters and street encampments should be closed.

Southend Council’s Labour-led joint administration has been working hard to reduce homelessness generally and street sleeping in particular since taking control last June but the lack of availability of accommodation, sufficient funding and other factors including the willingness of some rough sleepers to accept help have been obstacles. It is a great shame that it has taken a pandemic to get some extra government funds but that money, and B&B owners agreeing to accommodate people who are at risk on the streets, have enabled the council to take action now that wasn’t possible under ‘normal’ circumstances. Additionally, more rough sleepers have been amenable to accepting help than in usually the case. We don’t yet know what will happen about funding and the availability of B&B accommodation when the pandemic is over, but our councillors will continue to make every effort to eradicate rough sleeping in the borough and increase the supply of decent, safe and affordable housing for our town’s residents.

Anyone suffering from housing issues or the threat of eviction can call Southend Council’s Housing Solutions Team on 01702 215002.

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