A CHARITY is set to buy a hotel to help temporarily house rough sleepers to combat the challenges thrown up during the Covid pandemic.

Southend homeless charity Off the Streets was forced to close its homeless shelter off London Road in Westcliff due to fears of the virus spreading during the peak of the pandemic, but has kept its vital foodbank and outreach services running.

Instead of re-opening the shelter, the charity will now be buying a hotel in the town to replace the communal sleeping, to house up to nine rough sleepers at a time.

The charity has been unable to reveal which hotel it is set to buy as discussions continue with the seller.

The hotel will be able to take in homeless couples too, a first for Southend.


It’s hoped those referred to the hotel, which will undergo a full refurb before opening in January, will sleep and be looked after for around three weeks before being permanently housed.

Kirsty Fields, 32, the founder of the charity, said: “It’s going to be more than just accommodation.

“We’ll have visits every day from external services, including the team from the job centre.

“It’s all about prevention too, and making sure they’re ready to be housed permanently before they leave us.

“We want to enable them to move forward with their lives.”

The hotel, which will be referred to as “home” by staff, to put those inside at ease, will also feature an IT suite and art room, to allow users to express themselves.

The location or cost of the hotel purchase are yet to be revealed.

It is hoped the refurb will have begun before Christmas.

Mrs Fields, who issued an urgent plea for tradesman to come forward and help out, added: “More work needs to be done to help those living on the streets.

“There’s still 30 sleeping rough in Southend at the moment “We desperately need help with the refurb, and we want as many tradesmen from Southend to help as we can.

“It’s going to be fantastic, we can’t wait get started.”

Off the Streets has now “secured the finance” for buying the hotel, and is in the process of “finalising the purchase.”

The charity has helped permanently house 119 rough sleepers in the last two years.

To help out, email offthestreetssouthend@yahoo.com.