Dreamer Livin' Joy
The Department of Communities and Local Government has released the annual rough sleeping statistics showing 361 rough sleepers have been spotted in the East on a snap-shot day.
The figure has increased every year since 2010, and is expected to rise again today. Last year's figures showed that 2,414 people were counted or estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night - this is a 37% increase since 2010.
The charity StreetLink says rough sleeping is dangerous and extremely damaging to an individual's mental and physical health, and the longer someone spends on the streets, the worse their problems are likely to become. Many of those found sleeping rough in 2014 could easily have been helped but are simply not aware of the support that is available to them. Almost half (47%) did not approach services for help before ending up on the street.
But the general public can play a vital role too. Over half (55%) of people admit to feeling guilty when they walk past somebody who is sleeping rough, and wish that there was something they could do to help.
One of the main issues is that people don't know what to do (47%), and nearly half (46%) would welcome a service that shows them how to help rough sleepers in the right way.
StreetLink is a 24/7 website, mobile app and phone-line that allows members of the pubic to send an alert about the location of someone sleeping rough. StreetLink will then pass the details to the relevant local services who will try to find the rough sleeper and connect them with support.
The team will follow up with the local area over the subsequent ten days to see what action was taken and give you an update on what happened as a result of the information you provided.
Since launching in December 2012, public alerts to StreetLink have led to more than 5,000 people being put in touch with local services and more than 1,000 supported into accommodation.
What's the situation in your area?