NO ONE should have to sleep rough this Christmas say BCP Council as plans to fight homelessness in the area are unveiled.

According to the council around 25 people are currently sleeping rough in the BCP region – a 46 per cent drop since September – and the council says it is “continuously working” to further reduce the number.

This comes as the authority received nearly £150,000 for a winter fund to aid people living on the streets.

Councillor Hazel Allen, lead member for homelessness said: “The BCP Homeless Partnership along with many local charities, businesses and public sector organisations will continue to help work towards the big vision of ‘everyone having a safe place to call home’ this Christmas.

“No one should have to sleep rough, especially in the colder winter months.

Bournemouth Echo: Councillor Hazel Allen, lead member for homelessness at BCP Council making a donation at the contactless giving point outside HSBC at Beale PlaceCouncillor Hazel Allen, lead member for homelessness at BCP Council making a donation at the contactless giving point outside HSBC at Beale Place

“This partnership has contributed to significantly better joint-working, communication and effective outcomes. These have included better access to health treatment, substance dependency interventions, fully licenced food provision as well as several hundred people being accommodated in temporary or interim accommodation such as hotel and supported housing provision as part of the Everyone In initiative, with around 90 people already receiving subsequent long-term settled housing.

“Also, £148,000 of funding has recently been awarded to BCP Council by the government’s Winter Pressures Fund Grant. This is to provide extra emergency accommodation and support for people who are sleeping rough in the area.

“Our contactless donation points, where residents can donate directly to those directly affected by homelessness via touch screens, have been rolled out across the area. 100 per cent of the money goes directly to help homeless people. And since their introduction in July, a total of £430 has been ‘tapped’.

Bournemouth Echo: St Mungo's team speaking to rough sleepers in Bournemouth.St Mungo's team speaking to rough sleepers in Bournemouth.

She added: “We are also continuing to work on a new health and housing hub which will provide support to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, offering health services, showers, access to computers and ongoing support. We work closely with partners and our health colleagues to ensure that homeless people who have been admitted to emergency care are offered care and support once they leave hospital.

“We also offer a number of initiatives that offer meaningful occupation, training, education to support individuals back into work but that also support mental health and wellbeing.”

“On average we have prevented homelessness for 96 households every month this year thanks to the collaboration of all those organisations signed up to and involved in the Homelessness Partnership.”

St Mungo’s is the leading homelessness organisation that works closely with the council.

Bournemouth Echo: Andrew Teale, service manager for St Mungo's in BournemouthAndrew Teale, service manager for St Mungo's in Bournemouth

Service manager for St Mungo’s in Bournemouth Andrew Teale, who was himself homeless for five years, said: “At this time of year, cold and extreme weather poses an additional risk to those experiencing street homelessness. This is why our outreach teams are out 365 days a year no matter what, to offer support to those who need it.

If a member of the public has concerns about an individual sleeping rough, we would encourage them to make a referral via the Streetlink app with as much information as possible, to connect the individual with our Outreach team.”

From July to September 2021, St Mungo’s supported more than 200 individuals in the BCP region.