A new partnership has formed between homeless charities Hope House and The Salvation Army, and supported by local organisations Community 360, Phoenix Futures, First Stop Centre, Tesco and Braintree Community Safety Partnership, to offer help to those who are sleeping rough in the district.
The ‘Change that Counts’ campaign was launched on Tuesday 18th December and not only provides those who are sleeping rough with support and services to help get them off of the street, but also aims to help members of the public understand how they can provide effective help.
People end up sleeping rough due to a range of complex issues and need a network of support from agencies working together in the district. If members of the public would like to help those in need they can donate money to the ‘Change that Counts’ campaign by visiting mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/changethatcounts. Money raised will be donated to two local homeless charities: Hope House and The Salvation Army, and will go towards shelter, food, toiletries, and vital support such as welfare and counselling to help individuals make a positive change.
‘Change that Counts’ partners are committed to helping people off the street and are working together to engage with people in the district who are sleeping rough. Over the last year, Operation Interact (a partnership of Essex Police, Braintree District Council and other local agencies), has helped to build positive relationships with vulnerable people to help them receive the support they need.
Hope House Essex has a house in Braintree and offer support to local people who are homeless. Tony Britten from local charity Hope House Essex said, “The ‘Change that Counts’ campaign aims to get people the right help to enable positive change in their lives to break the cycle of homelessness. Giving your money to local charities is the very best way to help people who are homeless: we provide food and shelter and our trained support workers can provide expert care, advice and support they need”.
The Salvation Army provides opportunities for residents to access support to address issues that led to their homelessness and receive training in key areas such as cooking, budgeting, maintaining a tenancy and looking after a home. The aim is to help each resident successfully move on to living independent lives within the community.
Sharon Ralph, Service Manager at The Salvation Army’s New Direction Lifehouse, said: “When people come to us in desperate need we help them overcome their problems and get their lives heading in the right direction. We do this by offering compassionate support, a listening ear and a range of specialist services run by trained staff and volunteers. The ‘Change that Counts’ campaign will help ensure that we can continue supporting those that need us most here in Braintree.”
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough you can call the Council’s 24 hour number 01376 552525 or visit www.streetlink.org.uk where trained workers can help. A Council officer will always try to engage with anyone reported to be rough sleeping.
During periods of severe weather (when the night time temperature is predicted to be zero degrees or below for three or more consecutive nights) the Council’s emergency protocol (SWEP) will be initiated. A range of agencies are notified and, in conjunction with the Council, will actively engage with anyone known to be sleeping rough to encourage them to use this provision.