Medway Council is continuing to support the homeless and offer advice to residents at risk of becoming homeless.
The council provides a range of support throughout the year to people with nowhere to live, as well as those who are at risk of losing their home.
Medway’s efforts to support the most vulnerable people has been recognised by the government – the council has been awarded almost £1million to further support its work to support rough sleepers. Medway has been given £410,000 from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government for the 2018/2019 financial year and a further £486,000 for the 2019/2020 financial year. Since receiving this funding in July 2018 the council has worked with partner agencies to help 46 additional rough sleepers find suitable accommodation.
Medway Council works closely with partner agencies in the Homelessness Forum and the extra funding helps to ensure further provisions are in place. This includes an outreach group to engage with rough sleepers, with an emphasis on supporting women, couples and people, including those who have recently come out of prison. The Homelessness Forum is made up of several organisations, including the police, health services, housing providers, local charities and support workers. Staff from the council’s Rough Sleeping Initiative and partners regularly visit areas across Medway to see who is sleeping rough and offer advice and assistance. During the last formal count in November 2018, 19 people were found sleeping rough. The formal count figure provides a snapshot taken on one night and the total number of people sleeping rough in Medway may be higher.
The Homelessness Forum also works together during periods of extreme weather to tell as many rough sleepers as they can that accommodation is immediately available to them. The Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is implemented when the night-time temperatures are predicted to be freezing.
However, help is available all year round at Kingsley House in Gillingham - this includes specialist support on the issues that can cause people to become homeless, such as debts and rent arrears. Medway Council also commissions a range of accommodation options to help those who find themselves with nowhere to live. Kingsley House is open Monday to Thursday from 8.30am until 5.15pm and on a Friday between 8.30am and 4.45pm. For urgent homelessness advice, urgent accommodation or help outside of these hours please contact our out of hours service on 01634 304 400.
Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Community Services, said: “We are committed to helping the most vulnerable people in our communities and supporting those with nowhere to live. We commission a range of support and advice throughout the year to help people who are homeless and those who are facing homelessness. Thank you to all the agencies in the Homelessness Forum, as well as local charities, for your support and all you do. We will continue to work together to encourage anyone who is homeless or in need of support to visit Kingsley House in Gillingham and seek the help and advice that is on offer.”
If you see a person sleeping rough in Medway you can contact the team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01634 334008. The team will then visit the rough sleepers and help them access our services.