HARP, Southend’s homeless charity step in to set up emergency winter shelter for people rough sleeping

Published on: December 8, 2023

With the temperate dropping significantly in the last few days Southend’s homeless charity HARP worked miracles yesterday (30 November) to set up an emergency cold weather shelter for people sleeping rough in Southend.

The shelter, which is being delivered in partnership with Southend-on-Sea City Council as part of their Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) support, will be open every night from 7pm and close at 8.30am with people using the shelter then being encouraged to visit HARP’s Bradbury Centre during the day for breakfasts, hot showers and to access other services as normal.

To ensure people’s safety people must not just turn up at the shelter. Anyone sleeping rough must be verified by the rough sleeping outreach team to be able to access the shelter. If you are not currently a verified rough sleeper by the Southend outreach team but are rough sleeping please approach your local council for advice and support.

Vanessa Hemmings, HARP’s Chief Executive Officer says

“We know from demand last year that this offer is going to be critical over the colder months. We have worked quickly with the council to make sure we can meet the rising needs to offer this service during the winter months when it is really tough for anyone sleeping outside.

We urgently need funds to make Christmas special and to provide ongoing support to people using the shelter to help them overcome rough sleeping for good. Please do donate at our website www.harpsouthend.org.uk or text HARP 70450 to donate £5 or 70580 to donate £10.”

Cllr David Garston, cabinet member for housing and planning at Southend-on-Sea City Council says

“I’m proud that through partnership working we have such an effective night shelter system for rough sleepers from our city. No-one thinks it right that some people have to sleep outside at any time, particularly not during the cold winter months. I am therefore grateful to council officers, and HARP staff and volunteers who work hard to make sure the shelters are open, staffed and that help is there for those who need it most.”

Help HARP continue their vital work, visit their website at www.harpsouthend.org.uk to contribute to their winter appeal.

To see a film reel of the set up click here.

If you see somebody sleeping rough please report this here: Help someone sleeping rough.

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