Councils in Worcestershire have been working with charities and health organisations to help rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the county more than 150 people have been helped so far, but a few people have chosen not to take the assistance offered. The local authority teams and outreach services are continuing to work with them to keep them safe.

Many of those who turned to the council for help have been able to find long term housing solutions. This has included securing homes in the private rented sector and working with local housing associations to provide housing and support. Wyre Forest District Council has helped 22 people to find a home.

The councils are continuing to provide shelter for rough sleepers on cold nights. The countywide Severe Winter Emergency and Cold Weather Fund provision makes sure those people who were offered accommodation but did not accept it or could not remain there, do have somewhere to go when temperatures fall.

Wyre Forest District Council is asking the public to help them support people who are still sleeping on the streets.

Councillor Nicky Martin, Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Health, Well-being and Democratic Services said:

“We are doing all we can to provide rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness with accommodation and offer shelter, but despite all the services available you may sometimes still see people on the street. We are asking people to let us know if they see rough sleepers by contacting Streetlink online www.streetlink.org.uk  or by calling 0300 500 0914.”

Streetlink help by passing through the details to the council or an outreach service and they will find the individual and contact them to offer support.  They will also check to see if they are already getting help.

The council is also asking people to think about the help they can give. If people want to donate they are encouraged to give to registered charities for the homeless. Anyone wanting to volunteer this Christmas, should approach their local church or charity directly or register for Here2Help at www.worcestershire.gov.uk/here2help

This website has been set up to help people during Covid but local councils can match volunteers to local groups looking for help.

If residents see a person collapsed on the street they should call the emergency services immediately.

More details about how the council is working to help rough sleepers and how the public can help can be found at www.wyreforestdc.gov.uk/roughsleepers