There are only three people sleeping rough in the borough of Darlington, according to the latest figures.
Each year, the 12 local authorities in the North East Regional Homeless Group take part in a count on the same night to provide a snapshot of the numbers of people sleeping rough in the region.
During this year’s count, which was held on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018, three people were found to be sleeping on the street – the same figure that was reported in 2017.
Staff from the council’s Housing Options team liaised with contacts across council services, as well as charities, NHS services, probation and other public bodies to ensure they had as much information as possible ahead of the count.
The three people identified as part of the count were all spoken to by members of the outreach team and were offered support, but they each declined assistance.
The Darlington Housing Options team works with the 700 Club,a homeless charity, to operate an outreach service called “No Second Night Out”.
The aim of the service is to ensure no-one who finds themselves sleeping on the streets ever has to spend more than one night in that position.
In the year 2017/18, the Housing Options team provided interim accommodation for people in the following areas:
- No Second Night Out – 51 people
- Severe weather emergency protocols – 40 people
- Sofa surfing – 109 people
In addition, each person was offered and/or accepted support to access more settled accommodation, as well as support to access to GP services, drug, alcohol and mental health support or help with education and employment opportunities.
The outreach teams, working with the police, established that there are a number of beggars in Darlington town centre areas, although they do have accommodation and are not sleeping rough.
Councillor Andy Scott, cabinet member for health and partnerships, said: “While we would rather that no-one is having to sleep rough in Darlington, we have to recognise that each of the three people identified as rough sleeping on this occasion do have the right to decline help and support.
“That offer of help and support is always available and the outreach team will continue to liaise with the three – and anyone else who presents as a rough sleeper in the borough.
“The excellent work done by the outreach team from 700 Club and the council’s housing options team means that potential rough sleepers are quickly identified and offered the help they need to find accommodation and move forward.”
Members of the public can report anyone they fear may be rough sleeping to the council’s Housing Options team or the 700 Club by calling 01325 405333 or 01642 524552 (emergency out of hours number). Alternatively, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Darlington Borough Council