Support for Worthing’s rough sleepers stepped up during cold spell

Worthing seafront in the snow
Worthing seafront in the snow

A severe weather emergency protocol, which sees teams out on the streets helping find rough sleepers accommodation, has been rolled out by Adur and Worthing councils as temperatures have plummeted.

The protocol sees community outreach workers employed by the councils on the streets on a daily basis connecting with anyone rough sleeping.

A drop-in session in Worthing every Tuesday builds relationships and helps the team to signpost services available to help.

The street community can be directed to shelters or, in the case of the most vulnerable, emergency accommodation if they want it, according to a council spokesman.

Outreach workers also liaise closely with the councils’ housing solutions team and Worthing Churches Homeless Projects.

So far, 12 people have been given temporary accommodation and those who declined have been given contact details in case they change their mind, the spokesman said.

Other people out begging late at night have assured the teams they have somewhere to go or have declined accommodation offers, confirmed the spokesman.

Councillor Dr Heather Mercer, executive member for customer services at Worthing, said: “I want to assure local residents that we will be doing everything in our power to get rough sleepers into the warm with a roof over their head.

“Our outreach teams are exceptionally dedicated and they will ensure no-one need spend time on the streets in this bitterly cold weather.”

Councillor Carson Albury, executive member for customer services in Adur, said: “Our teams are involved in constantly monitoring the situation with rough sleepers and liaising with partners to ensure they are out of the cold.

“This is part of what we do normally but of course has extra urgency during this cold spell.”

Both councillors urged members of the public to either contact Streetlink online or contact the councils on if they have concerns about someone sleeping rough.

Streetlink is a national charitable organisation that links the public with agencies who can do something to help.

The councils can be contacted on 01903 221063 in office hours and the councils’ housing solutions team can be contacted out of hours on 01903 239999.

Meanwhile, Sussex Police in Adur and Worthing have agreed that their Police Community Support Officers on the beat will also act as ‘eyes and ears’ and report any issues with vulnerable people to the councils’ teams, the spokesman added.