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Supporting the homeless in Medway

19 December 2017

Help is available all year round in Medway for those who find themselves homeless or sleeping rough.

Medway Council provides support to the most vulnerable people living across the five towns whatever the season or weather conditions.

The council commissions a range of support and accommodation throughout the year to help people with nowhere to live. Specialist advice is offered at Kingsley House on the issues that can cause people to become homeless, such as debt and rent arrears – this is a preventative measure to reduce the number of people who find themselves without a home.

Cllr Howard Doe, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, said: “Homelessness can affect anyone, at any time so the council has a team of staff who work throughout the year to offer advice to residents at risk of losing their home. The team also provides support to people living on the streets and talks them through the help available to them. If you are homeless or feel you are at risk of losing your home, please do access the help available to you at Kingsley House.”

Providing emergency accommodation during severe weather

During the colder winter months the housing team targets its support to reach those most in need. Earlier this month Medway Council implemented its Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) providing emergency accommodation to rough sleepers. People living on the streets in Medway were encouraged to visit Kingsley House in Balmoral Road, Gillingham, between 8 and 18 December to get emergency help. The council also operated an out of hours homelessness service for rough sleepers who were unable to seek help during the day.

Raising awareness of the support available

Medway Council works closely with its partner agencies in the Homelessness Forum, which is made up of several organisations, including the police, health services and is supported by housing providers, local charities and support workers. Together they provide support to people living on streets and those who find themselves without their own home. When SWEP was in place the forum worked together to tell as many rough sleepers as they could that accommodation was immediately available to them.

Cllr Doe continued: “It is very sad to see people sleeping on the streets, especially at this time of year. We are dedicated to preventing people from sleeping rough, but unfortunately sometimes people are not aware of the help we offer. The council raises awareness of the support available to rough sleepers and homeless people throughout the year and with the help of our housing providers, as well as local charities and volunteers, we will continue to reach out to rough sleepers and signpost them to the help available.”

Visit Kingsley House for help and support

If you are homeless or feel you are at risk of losing your home, visit Kingsley House, in Balmoral Road, Gillingham for help and support. Kingsley House is open Monday to Thursday from 8.30am until 5.15pm and on a Friday between 8.30am and 4.45pm.