People sleeping rough can move their belongings to a secure location

23 August 2019

A new initiative has launched to protect the public and look after the belongings of people sleeping rough in Chester and Cheshire West.

People sleeping rough often leave sleeping bags and other items on Chester’s streets as they struggle to find places to bed down and cope with life on the streets. 

To avoid the potential security risk to Chester of unattended items being left on the city’s streets, this summer the Council’s Streetcare Team and partner agencies have been encouraging people sleeping rough to leave their items at the city’s Hamilton House Assessment Hub instead. 

In recent months, the homeless community in Chester has begun to accept the hub as a safer place to store their items. 

The result is that an increasing amount of belongings are now being stored at the hub and fewer items are being left on the streets.

In order to ensure that Chester’s streets are more secure and pose less of a security threat in the future, the Council’s Streetcare Team will begin removing all remaining belongings which have been left discarded on the city’s streets after 2 September.

Our teams are speaking regularly with the homeless community to ensure they understand the need to store their remaining belongings safely at Hamilton House before this deadline.

The initiative is being managed by a partnership of local organisations working to solve the problem of homelessness which includes Outside In, Cheshire West and Chester Council, ForFutures, CH1BID and Cheshire Police. ‘Outside In’ is a local collective of charities, voluntary groups, faith groups, businesses and the public sector.

Simon Groom, Chair of Outside in, said: “We have been aware for some time that people sleeping rough often leave belongings in doorways and unsecured places across the city. These are at risk of being removed as a potential security threat, stolen or damaged. 

To protect these items and help the rough sleepers, we are pleased that our partners are now able to offer a location where rough sleepers can leave belongings safely and without risk to the city's security.”

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth, said: “Cheshire West and Chester Council and our partners are working hard to support rough sleepers end homelessness in our borough. This latest initiative is designed to help rough sleepers keep their belongings safe and dry, plus interacting with this service means our outreach teams can identify further ways we can support homeless people back into housing.
“We all want Chester to be a safe and secure place. Having a safe place for rough sleepers to leave belongings is a balanced approach to supporting their needs, whilst recognising the security concerns of businesses and residents in the city.
"This safe storage facility will ensure people’s belongings are protected and are not seen as a potential security threat by the police, as happens with other baggage items in public spaces.”

This is one of a number of projects the Council, Outside In and partners are working on to help people sleeping rough in the borough improve their personal circumstances. Hamilton House Assessment Hub has helped dozens of people move from the streets into accommodation since it launched in the spring. A new model of ‘pop up’ night shelters ran successfully during the winter to provide support for people when the temperature drops.

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