Date issued: 21 March 2019
Residents and businesses across Colchester are being urged to show their support for preventing and alleviating homelessness in the borough.
As part of the Homelessness Prevention Charter – jointly set up by Colchester Borough Council and Colchester Borough Homes – residents and companies can now publicly state how they want to help tackle the issue through making an online pledge.
The charter underpins Colchester’s Homelessness Strategy produced by the Homelessness Strategy Project Group, which included the council and partner organisations committed to preventing homelessness in the borough.
More than 150 Colchester households are in temporary accommodation and a rough sleepers count carried out last year found 13 people sleeping rough in Colchester – down from 20 the previous year.
In 2017/2018, Colchester Borough Homes Housing Solutions Team, working with a range of partners, helped prevent homelessness for 869 households by giving advice on budgeting, defending illegal evictions, negotiating with landlords and helping them secure alternative accommodation.
Under Colchester’s Homelessness Strategy, the council is committed to tackling homelessness in the borough by working closely with partner organisations and focusing on early interventions that prevent people losing their homes.
Now residents and businesses can help play their part in supporting this ambition. Among the online pledges they can make include:
- donating to a local homelessness charity or project
- volunteering for a local homelessness organisation
- having a Homeless Support Champion in the workplace to help inform colleagues about homelessness and alternative ways of supporting the homeless
- raising money for a local organisation to help people that are at risk or are experiencing homelessness
- companies offering a person who is or has been homeless training or work experience
Alternatively, residents and businesses will be able to develop their own pledge, in a similar way to the council’s recent Colchester Plastic Pledge.
The aim of the initiative mirrors the ambition of the council’s Better Colchester campaign to make the borough an even better place to live, work in and visit.
Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities said: “Working with a wide range of partners, the council is doing everything we can to prevent and eliminate homelessness in the borough.
“This effort can be further strengthened within our whole community, including residents and businesses playing their part. A simple action may help a work colleague facing eviction, or a neighbour and their family uprooted and placed in temporary accommodation. Through making a simple pledge and sticking to it, everyone can make a tangible difference to those who are struggling to keep a roof over their head.
“I want to harness the enthusiasm of everyone who wants to get involved but doesn’t know the best way to do so. I would urge as many people as possible to sign up to help us make homelessness a thing of the past and ensure a Better Colchester for every resident.”
Anyone who would like to make a pledge or find out more about the charter can do so at colchester.gov.uk/homelessnesspledge/
To make a pledge people can click on the ‘individual’ or ‘on behalf of an organisation’ button.