Stockton Council is one of 12 North-East local authorities working together to tackle rough sleeping.
They are all supporting the Government's No Second Night Out campaign.
It aims to make sure no-one new to the street has to spend more than one night sleeping rough.
The five key principles of No Second Night Out are:
- Identifying rough sleepers and helping them immediately
- Involving the public in reporting when they see rough sleepers on the streets or elsewhere
- Assessing needs quickly and safely
- Accessing emergency accommodation and other services
- Reconnecting people with support, accommodation, family and friends, in this country or elsewhere
Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, Councillor Steve Nelson, said: "Here in Stockton Borough we have been working closely with our partners for many years to make sure no-one has to spend a night on our streets. Our official figures suggest we don’t have any rough sleepers in Stockton Borough, however, we do recognise there may be some individuals we do not know about. I hope this campaign will help us identify them so we can offer the support they need to ensure they don’t have to spend another night on our region’s streets.”
The launch of the North East regional campaign takes place on Tuesday 11 December, tying in with a national conference on Rough Sleeping and the launch of a national freephone helpline – Street Link. The Street Link helpline, hosted by national organisation Homeless Link, will make it easier for members of the public, the emergency services and homeless people themselves to report rough sleeping.
A call to the helpline will lead to details being relayed to the local authority working in the area where the rough sleeper has been reported. The local authority will then ensure contact is made with the rough sleeper, to offer support to help them access housing and recovery services.
Posters telling members of the public about the national freephone helpline are being displayed across the North-East. There are also posters for local agencies telling them how they can help to make sure help gets to people who are sleeping rough and what role they can play, and information cards to give to rough sleepers telling them how to get help.
Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, says: “Homeless Link is delighted the North East region has joined the campaign to end rough sleeping in this country. Every night, someone sleeps rough for the first time. We know the longer they stay out, the worse their problems can get and the harder they can be to overcome. A life on the streets can lead to substance misuse, crime and serious physical or mental health problems.
“No Second Night Out is a simple standard, putting the right services in place so no one spends more than a single night on the streets. Everyone in the North East can take a step to help make sure this happens – if you are concerned about someone sleeping rough in your community just call the telephone line, Street Link, to connect them to local services. The North East is leading the way on this commitment and we look forward to supporting them on their journey.”