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Tameside is 'ready' to house rough sleepers this autumn and winter

Inside the Town House in Ashton.

A bed in a safe environment will be available for anyone at risk of sleeping rough in Tameside over the autumn and winter months.

Tameside Council says the borough is 'well prepared to continue its success' of helping the homeless into permanent accommodation and providing temporary shelter when needed.

The authority reports that 136 individuals, who would otherwise have been at risk of sleeping rough, have been rehoused so far this year by its Rough Sleeping Team. 

The Town House in Ashton was opened last year as a community hub that provides wrap around care and support to people who are homeless and/or vulnerable. 

At the height of lockdown, the service was temporarily housing 90 individuals. There are currently 50 individuals housed at either the Town House or in a range of dispersed properties across the borough, with 27 of them due to move into permanent accommodation in the next few weeks.

Between 2018 and 2019, Tameside recorded the highest percentage drop in rough sleeping in England from 42 down to just five – a reduction of 86 per cent.

The council said that a rough sleeper count in July 2020 found no-one sleeping rough in Tameside, for the first time in almost 10 years.

A spokesperson for the authority says there are currently five individuals choosing to sleep rough but the offer of accommodation is 'always open to all of them whenever they choose to accept it and support and assistance is being provided'. 

The Rough Sleeping team offer help with drug and alcohol addiction, mental and physical health problems, welfare rights, domestic abuse, vulnerability and even simple life skills such as cooking and personal hygiene.

Cllr Ged Cooney, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for the homeless, said: “We continue to support the Greater Manchester Mayor’s ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme, and anyone who is at risk of sleeping rough, no matter what their circumstances, can access a bed in a safe environment at any time.

“Our approach involves tailoring the service to suit individuals’ needs and problems and recognises that getting people in off the streets is only the first hurdle and that often ongoing support is needed with a wide range of complex issues in order to prevent people falling back into rough sleeping.

“I’m extremely proud of the work that our Rough Sleeping team and fantastic community partners are doing to successfully support people who find themselves in crisis and sleeping rough in Tameside.”

Tameside Council is also part of Stronger Together Tameside, an umbrella organisation that brings together statutory services and charities to share resources to support the homeless and vulnerable.

To volunteer with Stronger Together Tameside, email enquiries@strongertogethertameside.co.uk or visit www.strongertogethertameside.co.uk for more information.

Anyone who is concerned that someone is sleeping rough in Tameside should contact the council on 0161 331 2700 (Monday to Wednesday 5pm to 9am, Thursday 5pm to 10pm, Friday to Monday 4pm to 9am) or email roughsleepers@tameside.gov.uk

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