Extra funds to help people sleeping rough this winter
PUBLISHED: 09:23 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:23 31 December 2019
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People rough sleeping in cars, tents and outbuildings in rural areas of Norfolk are being offered extra help this winter.
Solo Housing have been awarded extra funds for December to March 2020 to help to provide a targeted service for single people who may be sleeping rough this winter in South Norfolk and Breckland.
The Diss-based charity is working in collaboration with wider Rough Sleeper projects delivered by Breckland and South Norfolk authorities and has employed a temporary peripatetic support worker to provide outreach and practical assistance to those sleeping out in the cold weather.
The support includes both befriending and keeping in contact with anyone rough sleeping, gaining their trust and linking them to wider services, as well as working with the authorities to access accommodation or local authority severe weather provision.
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The funds, awarded by Homeless Link, as part of their Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government Cold Weather Grant funding programme, will also offer practical support such as transport to access accommodation, other services, help with pets, or help to access to laundry and food provision where necessary.
Solo Housing chief executive Carolyn Howell said last year nationally 726 homeless people died, and the charity wants to avoid this happening in the local area as winter temperatures start to bite.
"Many people sleeping rough in rural areas are hidden from view in tents, cars or outbuildings," she said. "We are often contacted by concerned members of the public, church or other community groups about someone they have seen sleeping outside.
"As the temperatures drop, we are keen to try and engage with those sleeping rough and act as a link to our wider services or those provided by the local authority or other agencies. The funding will allow us to intervene at a practical and human level this winter."
If you know of anyone you think may need help in South Norfolk and Breckland areas please contact Solo Housing on 01379 640250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where temperatures are likely to drop below zero local authorities provide Severe Weather Emergency Provision. Members of the public can also notify Streetlink by calling 0300 5000 914 if they see someone sleeping rough.