New telephone hotline empowers public to help Sheffield rough sleepers

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A new telephone hotline and text messaging service has been launched to help people sleeping rough in Sheffield off the streets.

Members of the public are being asked to use the new Freephone number to report the location of people they see sleeping rough to a new Street Outreach Service provided by homelessness charity Framework.

Framework, which has been commissioned by the City Council to provide an outreach service to homeless people in Sheffield, is seeking a community-based response to rough sleeping and wants as many people as possible to feel empowered to help.

In order to help people sleeping rough in the city, Framework needs to know who and where those people are. It will use its new telephone and text service to a) identify people who need help and b) establish potentially life-saving lines of communication with them.

People can call on 0800 066 5358 or Text SOTS to 80800 (followed by a message). Reports can also be made to www.streetlink.org.uk

Framework Street Outreach Manager Jason Marriott explained: “When people see somebody sleeping rough it is natural that they may want to help in some way – even though they may not know how. With the launch of this new resource we’re making it easier than ever before for people to translate their good will into action.

“We will respond to every report we receive and carry out a full assessment of the people we find. In the short-term we will work to get to get them accommodated while longer term solutions can be worked on.”

The Framework Street Outreach Team, based at the Cathedral Archer Project, began operating on June 1. Building on expertise and experience gathered elsewhere team members are now carrying out regular patrols in the early hours of the morning and work intensively with homeless people to get them the support they need. Framework will also be working in close partnership with the Cathedral Archer Project and other organisations currently working with homeless people in the city.

Mr Marriott, who has worked with homeless people for more than a decade, added: “This kind of professional, structured support can have an utterly transformative impact on people’s lives, but can only begin once we are able to establish good working relationships with those most in need. There is some fantastic work already going on with homeless people in Sheffield, but it is vital to remember that we all have a role to play in helping people – from members of the public to police officers and health professionals. That’s why I’m urging people to use these new reporting mechanisms to tell us about people who are sleeping rough.”

Suzanne Allen, Head of Citywide Housing Services at Sheffield City Council, said: “We know that people are concerned about the number of people they see on the streets in and around the city centre. That’s why we’re encouraging them to report anyone they think might be sleeping rough to the street outreach service, so help and support can be offered.

“No-one has to live without a roof over their heads and we’ve funded a street outreach service for some time. We’ve now re-commissioned and enhanced the service, to help more people. Framework is a charity that brings a lot of experience of helping people with similar problems in Nottinghamshire. This will build on the important work already taking place by the council and voluntary sector.”