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"No one needs to be on the streets in Middlesbrough"

Rough sleepers continue to be helped into permanent homes this winter with the message “no one needs to be on the streets in Middlesbrough”.

The number of rough sleepers in Middlesbrough has risen from six at this time last year to 11 this year despite temporary accommodation always being available.

However, as always Middlesbrough Council support workers will continue to aid all of the individuals – who have various complicated issues in their lives – to find permanent homes and provide ongoing care.

Currently of the 11 people, two are refusing any help from support services while the remaining nine are engaging with the assistance on offer.

The authority’s “Breaking the Boundaries” team works all year round to help homeless, rough sleepers, beggars and others with serious personal issues to turn their lives around.

Some of the common problems faced are issues around drugs and alcohol, while problematic previous tenancies can often be a barrier which makes landlords not want to provide permanent accommodation to individuals.

Cllr Mick Thompson, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Culture and Communities, said: “There is no need for anyone to sleep rough in Middlesbrough but sadly there are people in our community who are doing just that.

“Our responsibility is to make sure that they are given every last bit of help, support and care that we possibly can and that is something we will always do.”

On top of the help offered 365-days-a-year Middlesbrough Council has a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) within which rough sleepers will be placed in bed and breakfast type accommodation or other temporary accommodation for the period of the severe weather or until they have found suitable alternative accommodation, whichever is the sooner.

The SWEP has now come into effect and will be in place until the spring.

Cllr Thompson added: “It is only right that at this time of the year we focus even more attention on those who are needlessly suffering in this cold weather.”

At any time rough sleeping or suspected rough sleeping can be reported direct to StreetLink by calling 0300 500 0914 or visiting StreetLink's website.

This information is then forwarded to the Housing Advice Team to investigate and verify the referral.

The public can also call 0300 111 1000 or email dept-homelessteam@thirteengroup.co.uk direct to report a rough sleeper or suspected rough sleeping.