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Outreach teams help reduce East End’s rough sleeper’ numbers

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:39 05 October 2010

THE number of homeless people sleeping rough’ on the streets of London’s poverty-ridden East End is falling. Only seven were found in Tower Hamlets in November, the last official count, compared to 23 last March

By Mike Brooke

THE number of homeless people sleeping rough’ on the streets of London’s poverty-ridden East End is falling.

Only seven were found by a new outreach’ team in Tower Hamlets in November, when the last official count was conducted, compared to 23 recorded last March.

The outreach team, set up almost a year ago with Government funding, goes out onto the streets every night to make contact with rough sleepers and finds them accommodation and puts them in touch with local services.

“People are often homeless because of a number of complex problems in their life,” said Tower Hamlets council’s Housing Lead Member Marc Francis.

“It can be mental illness, a relationship breakdown, substance misuse, financial struggles or a combination of all these.

“They are caught in a revolving door and will end up back on the streets, unless we get to the reasons that have contributed to their homelessness.”

The authority’s outreach team is part of a London-wide programme spearheaded by Boris Johnson at City Hall to end rough sleeping by 2012, when the world’s spotlight is on London for the Olympics.

Around three-quarters of London’s “most entrenched rough sleepers” have been helped off the streets in the past 12 months, City Hall claims.

Rough sleepers can contact Tower Hamlets’ homeless service on 020-7364 7474, or drop in at the Bethnal Green social services offices at 62 Roman Road.


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