Council helps rough sleepers and tackles anti-social behaviour

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Last Updated: 19 Aug 2019 10:57am

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has helped rough sleepers into accommodation in Tonbridge and set out to tackle anti-social behaviour that became an issue in the locations where the rough sleepers were located. The Council has developed a ‘Rough Sleeper Protocol’, and established a Rough Sleeper Task and Finish group to try to ensure that anyone who is sleeping rough in the Borough is able to access the support that they need. The ‘Task and Finish’ group is made up of the Council’s Housing Officers and representatives from Porchlight, Lookahead, Kent Police and Clarion Housing.

The Council’s Housing team, alongside Porchlight outreach workers, have recently approached rough sleepers in Tonbridge to offer them accommodation or support. This took place over a number of weeks in order to build up a relationship with the individuals, who were given support to complete housing applications, as well as anything else they needed help in applying for.

The Council had received an increasing number of complaints from residents and businesses about individuals who were congregating in Tonbridge Town Centre in locations occupied by the rough sleeper, and had several specific reports of anti-social behaviour such as drinking, fighting and noise disturbances. The Council does not tolerate anti-social behaviour and set out to tackle this in a proportionate way with both the rough sleepers and others, whilst maintaining an emphasis on support for the rough sleepers.

Community Protection Warning Notices (CPW) were issued at the end of July by the anti-social behaviour officer, which prevent individuals from engaging in behaviour that would cause distress/nuisance (such as fighting and excessive noise) but also gave them a curfew to not be in that area overnight. As a result, one of the individuals then asked for support into accommodation and the Council’s Housing Team were able to arrange for temporary housing for him. Since issuing the CPWs there have been no reports of groups of people at this location and the local businesses are pleased with this outcome. Monitoring of the area will continue to try to avoid re-occurrence of anti-social behaviour.

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Piers Montague said: “This initiative has been a great success in helping the area’s rough sleepers into accommodation and in dispersing the people who were creating a nuisance by their anti-social behaviour. It is to the benefit of the businesses, residents and the rough sleepers themselves that we continue to work with local agencies and those affected to find appropriate solutions to help those in crisis when they most need it.”

If you are rough sleeping, or at risk of being on the streets, or if you are aware of someone who is having problems, you can contact us via email at housing.services@tmbc.gov.uk or by telephone at Housing Options and Support – 01732 876067 or in person at the Council’s Kings Hill offices or Tonbridge Castle Gateway.