NEARLY 300 rough sleepers have been helped into emergency accommodation in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole since the start of lockdown.

Homelessness charity St Mungo’s has helped 269 people into empty hotels and other accommodation since March 23.

And 64 of them have made positive moves into longer-term housing.

The help came under the government’s Everyone In initiative which was announced just three days after the country was placed in lockdown.

Manager of St Mungo’s Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Outreach Team, Andrew Teale said: “Looking back at the last six months, I am incredibly proud of the way our outreach team worked around the clock to support 269 vulnerable people from Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole into emergency hotel accommodation so they could self-isolate safely.

“By working with BCP council and partners, and by responding with speed and tenacity, we were able to ensure that people who were rough sleeping were quickly supported into safe accommodation with access to key support services and ongoing support.

“During this time we have supported 64 people who were in the emergency hotels to move into longer term accommodation. Our frontline workers continue to work intensively with those clients still in emergency accommodation to support them to make their next steps away from the streets.”

St Mungo’s also operates in London, Bristol, Brighton, Oxford and Reading and the total number helped is 2,914. The most - 1,544 - were in London.

More than 1,000 are now in longer-term accommodation including 628 in London and 95 in Brighton.

St Mungo’s Chief Executive Steve Douglas CBE said: “St Mungo’s, along with many homelessness organisations, has spent the past few months working with local authorities and other partners, ensuring that thousands of vulnerable people who were homeless on our streets were protected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The ‘Everyone In’ programme, has been successful. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), regional and local authorities, housing associations and all involved – including our dedicated teams here at St Mungo’s – should be praised for their outstanding and unprecedented joint efforts, which undoubtedly saved many lives.

“During this time our teams, like others across the country, have been there providing the support they need and helping people to make the next step to suitable longer term accommodation.

“There is a once in a generation opportunity to ensure that what we have learnt through the pandemic is not lost.” Work done will be highlighted using #WhenWeWorkTogether