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New partnership team supports rough sleepers

A new service that aims to improve quality of life for rough sleepers is now operating across Chelmsford and Maldon.

The Chelmsford and Maldon Changing Futures Rough Sleepers Initiative is a partnership service involving Essex Partnership University Trust (EPUT), Chelmsford City Council, Maldon District Council and Essex County Council.

It delivers interventions that support rough sleepers to improve their health and wellbeing, move towards securing accommodation, and provides wraparound health and social care support to help them get back on their feet.

Similar Rough Sleeper Initiatives operate in Braintree, Epping and Southend, and the Braintree and Epping team recently won a ‘Working in Partnership’ award at the Essex Housing Awards, which promote best practice across the county.

Sean Paulin, Service Manager for EPUT, said: “We are delighted to be part of this partnership initiative that helps a group of people who might not otherwise receive the support they need with their mental and physical health and social needs.

“Our Rough Sleeper Mental Health Navigator, who is part of the team, supports rough sleepers with identified mental health problems, and ensures they receive timely and appropriate support.

“The Mental Health Navigator will meet the rough sleeper at a mutually agreed space, where they feel comfortable and safe. They can facilitate access to physical health services, liaise with the Primary Care Network Mental Health teams and even accompany them to appointments if required.

“By working in partnership with housing colleagues, we're able to help with a person’s overall needs, which ultimately may lead to stabilisation, a sense of security, hopefulness and recovery.”

Councillor Penny Channer, Leader of Maldon District Council, said: “I am delighted that we are part of this vital outreach service which reaches and engages with those who have found it difficult to navigate housing, health, and mental health services.

“This partnership has already delivered lasting change by creating a robust system where vulnerable individuals can be identified and assisted quickly.”

Councillor Stephen Robinson, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said: “Providing timely mental health support and improving access to services have a key role to play in stopping the cycle of homelessness. Mental health problems are often a contributing factor in causing homelessness. They can make dealing with rough sleeping even more difficult, and in turn, the huge strain homelessness puts on people often causes a big deterioration in mental wellbeing.

“This new provision is a real step forward in creating a more holistic service, working alongside the city’s existing Housing Navigators to improve the lives of those who need it most.”

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