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Essex County Council and partner organisations have provided accommodation for over 40 of the county’s rough sleepers, following instruction from the Government.
In Chelmsford, rough sleepers moved into hotel accommodation, with food delivered from local food banks. Borough Councils have provided accommodation in Colchester, Basildon and Harlow with rough sleepers staying in a hotel, re-purposed vacant social housing and temporary accommodation.
Communal night-shelters and street-encampments are high risk environments for spreading COVID-19, and the new accommodation also protects those rough sleepers, who would be at high risk should they contract Coronavirus.
Authorities will now co-ordinate efforts to prevent a return to rough sleeping and avoid begging. While a handful of rough sleepers have refused to come inside and a few people unknown to services claiming to be rough sleepers have come forward, great progress has been made.
Cllr Tony Ball, Cabinet Member with responsibility for housing, said:
“The work underway to offer accommodation, food and medical supplies is a substantial achievement and we would like to thank everyone who has ensured some of the most vulnerable have been protected.”