A COUNCIL has teamed up with a homeless charity in a bid to improve the number of services available to rough sleepers.

The new partnership between Braintree Council and Chess forms will see greater support provided to people sleeping on the streets throughout mid Essex.

It forms part of the Rough Sleeper Initiative which had was spearheaded by former Communities Secretary (now Chancellor of the Exchequer) Sajid Javid.

Services now on offer in the district include interventions to prevent and relieve rough sleeping, help to move service users into private rented accommodation and rapid assessments of client needs.

Vulnerable people, such as those leaving prison or hospital, will be closely monitored as part of the new service.

Braintree Council's homes boss Kevin Bowers said: "The Rough Sleeper Initiative and partnership with CHESS will allow us to provide the right outreach to the homeless on our streets. While rough sleeping is relatively low in our district, it is important to provide the necessary support to keep it this way and avoid anyone spending nights on our streets.

"CHESS will be able to provide their expert outreach and support to guide rough sleepers to the help and support they need to make positive change."

The Ministry of Housing, Essex County Council and Chess will fund the new partnership with the council.

Under the scheme, residents are being encouraged to report anyone they see rough sleeping to Chess or the Streetlink website.

Chess says it aims to visit rough sleepers on the same day they are reported so they can provide help and shelter with immediate effect.