Lancaster City Council has stepped up its patrols of rough sleeper hotspots in the area to remind those they come across of the danger they are in at this time of year and offer them shelter, along with access to the Covid-19 vaccine.
It is also calling on local residents and businesses for their help by reporting any concerns they may have about someone they think is living on the street, so they can give support and protection to those who may not already be known to them.
Councillor Cary Matthews, Cabinet member with responsibility for homelessness, said: “Whilst the number of cases of homelessness is very small in comparison with other areas, we do find rough sleepers arriving from elsewhere due to the provision of accommodation in the district.
“It therefore means that rough sleepers we are not already be aware of could slip through the net and fall victim to the cold and the other dangers as a result of living on the street during the winter months.
“We would also encourage people to refrain from offering money to those they think are homeless. Not only does it give them a reason to be there but also poses a risk of spreading the virus, especially with the arrival of a new strain which is spreading much faster than previous ones.”
If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, get in touch with Street Link so the city council can offer them emergency accommodation and connect them to local services for other support if needed.
The Street Link scheme is a service that enables the public to alert local authorities in England about rough sleepers in their area.
The service can be contacted by telephoning 0300 500 0914 or visiting the www.streetlink.org.uk If you’re homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, the council would urge you to contact its Housing Options Team as soon as possible for help.
During office hours you can call 01524 582257. At weekends when the office is closed, call 01524 67099.Donate via Lancaster District Street Aid
Anyone wanting to donate money to Lancaster District Street Aid and give local homeless people a real chance of turning their lives around, can do so via the fundraising platform, TotalGiving – www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/streetaid, by texting STREET to 70450 or via the cashless terminals located in the windows of Dalton Square Pharmacy, Student Housing Lancaster and Treasure Island Arcade in Morecambe.
Donations via the scheme generate a pot of funding that individuals can apply for, with assistance from their supporting organisation, and includes access to housing, furniture and other home essentials, education/training courses, clothing for job interviews, equipment/materials for hobbies and interests, and transport to interviews/place of work.