Public urged to help rough sleepers in winter months with good deed app
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Housing association awarded nearly £100,000 to prevent homelessness
Members of the public are being urged to connect rough sleepers with support services via a new app, as the cold wintry months begin.
The StreetLink app has already successfully helped 4,000 people living on the country's streets - but people are being asked to be extra vigilant with a cold winter forecast.
Run in partnership between homelessness charities Broadway and Homeless Link, the StreetLink app, telephone line and website services have been running for a year.
Around 2,300 people are estimated to sleep rough every night in England, and new research shows that many are not aware of the help that is available to them.
Polling has also revealed that there is a vast desire to help amongst the British public - but confusion about the best way to do so.
However, with StreetLink's app concerned citizens can alert their local authority with ease.
John (not his real name) from Manchester is just one former rough sleeper found by local services in response to a StreetLink alert from the public. He said: “StreetLink is such an invaluable service. For me, it really stopped things deteriorating as they easily could have done.
“It’s helped me get back on my feet as quickly as possible. The team that came and found me was incredibly supportive, and helped me to stay positive at a very difficult time.”
Rick Henderson, chief executive of Homeless Link, said: “The service is enabling so many people to help rough sleepers for the first time. It’s very encouraging to see new technology being used as a real force for good in this way."
Howard Sinclair, chief executive of Broadway, said: “I’m delighted that in its first year, StreetLink has already made such a difference. Now we need even more people to use the service, so we can help people most in need who are forced to sleep on our streets.
“It’s great to see how people care and will act to help homeless people in their local communities. But more needs to be done - and quickly. As temperatures drop, it’s crucial we all act to help those left out in the cold.”