The leader of Test Valley Borough Council has reiterated the authority’s commitment that nobody needs to sleep on the streets this Christmas.
Councillor Phil North is issuing the reminder this winter in that anybody who is experiencing homelessness will not leave the council’s offices without first being made an offer of accommodation. He is also reminding residents of the assistance and care on offer from charities around the borough and the rounded help they can provide.
Councillor North said: “This can be an incredibly difficult time of year for some, and that’s why I want to take this opportunity to reiterate our dedication and commitment to anyone who is experiencing homelessness or sleeping rough at the moment.”
“As the temperatures drop, it really can be a tough period. Which is why we proactively go out and engage with people we think are rough sleeping as well as well as responding positively to those who seek help from us. Unfortunately, offers of accommodation aren’t always accepted but we keep trying through our investment in outreach services.
“This time of year, many people out of the goodness of their hearts, also want to help the less-fortunate. There are various housing charities and support networks in place in Andover and Romsey, such as Two Saints and Bridge House, who would be most grateful to receive any help over the winter period.”
Housing and environmental health portfolio holder, councillor Tracey Tasker, added: “For many years we have been focusing on the importance of getting to know the individuals who come to us for help, and their situation. This includes building trust with people on the street such that they might accept help to come inside. Many organisations work with us to ensure the next steps are successful ones.
“While we continue to work as hard as we can to ensure nobody has to face a night on the streets, I would also urge residents wishing to help, to make sure they do so in the best way possible. Sometimes, giving to people directly on the streets can frustrate the efforts being made by local services to persuade people to come inside – especially if they’re experiencing drug or alcohol addictions. Are ultimate message though is that there is help and accommodation available to ensure no-one needs to sleep rough this Christmas.”
Please remember that anyone concerned about their housing situation can contact the council’s housing service on 01264 368000 (Andover) or 01794 527700 (Romsey). You can also report rough sleeping through streetlink.org.uk and we will proactively go out and speak to the individuals and offer accommodation.