ROUGH sleepers will be given extra beds courtesy of Southend homeless charity Harp.

After a successful trial, Harp will be offering eight additional emergency spaces, seven days-a-week.

These are designed for people who are sleeping on the streets and are added to the 38 rooms which are currently available all year round.

The trial, which ran over seven weekends at Harp’s Bradbury Day Centre, in York Road, saw 20 people access the service.

Ten of these people are now in more secure, longer-term accommodation.

Gary Turner, Harp’s service operations manager, said: “We have said for many years that we have the expertise to help end homelessness, but not the resources, so we are pleased to announce the extension to our emergency accommodation for people currently sleeping rough.

“The people using this service will be able to get some much needed rest in a warm, comfortable environment.

“Crucially, they will also be able to engage with our staff and volunteers, and take the steps necessary to get off the streets for good.

“We’re delighted with the results we’ve seen so far and we hope to build on this and work intensively with people to make the biggest positive impact, so more people can lead happy, healthy lives away from the streets.”

The charity added that the temporary increase in emergency accommodation is only possible thanks to a successful Southend Council led bid for central government funding to tackle the rough sleeping crisis.

On top of the extension to emergency accommodation, Harp are also able to engage in street outreach work due to the additional funding.

On average, HARP helps over 1,000 people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness every year.

Southend Council is working on a raft of measures to help those people who are homeless and want help.

The council is also taking action against those who do not want help but continue to abuse drugs, drink and shoppers.

Among the measures being considered is a public space protection order which could include a ban on begging and pitching tents in Southend town centre.

The Bradbury Day Centre is run by trained staff, who are on hand to provide support and link people to the right services.