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More Support for Rough Sleepers in Swale

Written by on 11 September 2019

Swale council has secured space to get up to 12 additional people sleeping rough off the streets and help them find suitable long-term accommodation.

Merlin House, Sittingbourne, will be used as supported accommodation for people sleeping rough, where they can then be helped by the council and homeless charity Porchlight.

Once off the streets, people will be assessed and referred to specialist support to help them find more suitable permanent accommodation.

The move is the latest part of the council’s new proactive approach to helping get homeless people off the streets and into suitable accommodation.

A new rough sleeping coordinator is working alongside Porchlight to help people sleeping rough into suitable housing.

Plans are also being put together with local voluntary groups to provide a night shelter in winter to make sure anyone sleeping rough will have a safe warm place to stay on the coldest nights.

So far, five rough sleepers have been housed in Merlin House, in addition to 10 being placed in temporary accommodation and two moved to long term permanent accommodation since July.

Cllr Ben Martin, cabinet member for housing at the council, said:

“We are determined to do all we can to get people off the streets and into appropriate accommodation.

“We heard these units were going to be available, and the chance to use them to help get people somewhere warm and safe, was too good to miss.

“These aren’t permanent solutions for the people who use them, but they give them somewhere to stay whilst we work with other agencies to get them the support they need to sustain permanent accommodation.”

Cllr Ghlin  Whelan, deputy cabinet member for housing, said:

“Our additional investment in the service means we have been able to increase the amount of outreach work we do.

“This gives us a much better chance of helping the most difficult cases get the support they need to find – and maintain – permanent and safe accommodation.

“We know there’s still a lot of work we need to do, but this is another step we’re taking to tackle the issues of homelessness in Swale.”

Anyone sleeping rough in Swale should contact the council on 01795 417485.

If you’ve seen someone rough sleeping and you think they’re in immediate danger or in need of urgent medical help, call 999, or if you’d like

If you’ve seen someone rough sleeping and you’d like to tell someone you can contact Porchlight on 0800 567 7699 or via their website

For more information and advice about rough sleeping and homelessness, visit