SOUTHEND’S homeless charity is spearheading a new campaign pressing for an end to people sleeping rough on the streets.

Harp has launched It’s Time, an initiative aimed at halting the number of people living on Southend’s streets.

The charity supports people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Southend and has worked tirelessly to end rough sleeping during lockdown.

Jackie Bliss, Harp’s chief executive, is eager to win Government backing for the charity’s efforts.

The charity is inviting people in the constituencies of Southend West and Rochford and Southend East to sign a letter to Sir David Amess and James Duddridge, asking the MPs to use their influence at national level to make a real, lasting impact on homelessness.

In particular, they are asking the Southend MPs to step in and write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary, in support of Harp’s campaign.


The MPs are also being asked to raise the profile of the campaign in Parliament and do their bit to support various initiatives to help homeless and vulnerable people in Southend.

Ms Bliss said: “Amazing work has been done in Southend, in particular by Southend Council with support from Harp and other local agencies, to get local people off the streets during lockdown and into bed and breakfasts, with many already having moved into longer term accommodation.

“However, the emergency funding provided by the Government will not last forever and we need a long-term commitment by the Government to continue investing in keeping people off the streets beyond this pandemic.”

But now is time for lasting change, the campaigner stressed.

She added: “A return to pre-Covid levels of homelessness is unthinkable.

“We need to come together as a community to do whatever we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“We know that our local MPs are sympathetic to the struggles of homelessness in the area but this needs to be turned into real action.

“The more names that we have on this letter, the more likely they will be to use their influence as our representatives in Parliament.”

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