Anyone who sees a person sleeping rough and is unsure of the best way to help is encouraged to report their concerns to the council so that specialist support services can assist.
Eastbourne Borough Council is advising people to use the StreetLink app (streetlink.org.uk) or its own website (lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/contact-us/contact-us-form/) as a reporting tool so that outreach teams can offer their support.
This includes GP registration, mental health and substance misuse support, help with benefits, accommodation, accessing a refuge and other specialist services.
Councillor Alan Shuttleworth, Cabinet member for Housing, said: “We want to get people off the street and help them break the cycles of dependency that keep them there.
“We are doing this through the Rough Sleeper Initiative which is dramatically reducing the number of people sleeping rough in Eastbourne, helping people into accommodation and other services to sustain their recovery from rough sleeping.”
Since the start of the Rough Sleeper Initiative in 2018, verified rough sleeping numbers in Eastbourne have dropped from 40 to 4.
Funded by government, the RSI is a wide-ranging network of agencies across the county that provide services to rough sleepers through outreach, intensive support and collaborative working across public and voluntary sector agencies.
Councillor Shuttleworth added: “It’s important to recognise that not everyone seen on the street is actually homeless. Our professionals have specialist knowledge to support rough sleepers in accessing services they need to live independently, develop life skills and sustain their recovery from rough sleeping.
“As well as providing supported accommodation, the RSI provides crucial links work with nurses, mental health practitioners, adult social care, intensive floating support, probation, substance misuse and the Department of Work and Pensions.”
The council has been actively looking at ways to help rough sleepers who have been placed in housing during the pandemic to be helped to stay in supported housing as we come out of lockdown.
For more information visit www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/housing/help-for-people-sleeping-rough