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Councillor joins rough sleepers count

06 August 2019 : Community

SWT’s Executive Member for Community, Cllr Chris Booth, has joined the Streetwise team on their count of rough sleepers.

Cllr Booth went out with the team in the Taunton and Wellington area in the early hours of the morning on 2 August, when total of 13 rough sleepers were counted.

The team carries out regular counts in the new Council area to ensure it is aware of all rough sleepers and their welfare needs. They also have an annual count which is verified by the Government.

Cllr Chris Booth said: “It was a privilege to go out with the Streetwise team and see at first-hand how and where our homeless community live.

I am in no doubt of the care our team offer the rough sleepers and the respect they receive in return.

I hope our continued efforts together with our partners will see more rough sleepers given the support they need to find permanent accommodation.”

SWT’s Streetwise team has been working with partners including the Police, ARC, Open Door, Somerset County Council, the health sector and other agencies to support rough sleepers and address the issues of concern.

The Council has been using money awarded from the Government’s 'Rough Sleepers Initiative Fund' to pay for specialist support to settle rough sleepers into permanent homes.

It has recently secured an extra 15 bed spaces with private landlords for people who are homeless, or have a history of rough sleeping.

The Streetwise team has also set up monthly visits from the award-winning charity Dogs on the Streets to provide veterinary care, equipment and advice to the homeless community with dogs.

It operates a Diverted Giving scheme which means that people can donate money  to the local charity Open Door which uses the cash to provide meals, showers, laundry and support to rough sleepers from its base in Mount Street.