A HOMELESS charity has opened the final stage of a new 24-bed service to help provide homes for people sleeping rough on the streets of Southend.

Harp’s new project, developed with Southend Council, has been dubbed “Bradbury Mansions” and is one of two renovation projects the charity has initiated as part of its programme.

As part of the project, a former home in York Road, Southend, has been converted into accommodation to help 24 people facing homelessness in the city.

Stuart, who was one of the first people to move into the service this week, said: “I am very grateful for being housed. Since I have moved into Harp I feel I have more control over my mood.

“The groups are helping me prepare for when I move out, like cooking skills and managing my money.

“I have also started to volunteer to help out at Harp and this gives me a sense of purpose.”

Echo: Support - Vanessa Hemmings and Glyn Halksworth, from Southend CouncilSupport - Vanessa Hemmings and Glyn Halksworth, from Southend Council (Image: HARP)

Each year, it offers housing, advice, and support to more than a thousand recipients who are battling homelessness or are at risk of losing their homes.

The charity’s mission is to empower people to lay the groundwork needed to reconstruct their lives and alleviate the need for rough sleeping permanently.

Furthermore, Harp undertakes street outreach every night, advocating for people’s admission into emergency accommodation.

Elaborating on the launch, CEO Vanessa Hemmings said: “Being awarded a grant as part of SHAP (Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme) is great news for Southend City and for Harp.

“As well as providing a roof over someone’s head the funding allows us to employ specialist workers to help the people we house.

“Sadly, we see many people end up in a cycle of homelessness so this vital intensive support is needed to help people overcome their issues.

“We believe the service will really change lives.”

The Government launched SHAP following the release of the Rough Sleeping Strategy in September 2022.

Glyn Halksworth, director of regeneration, housing and regulatory services at the Southend Council, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Harp to secure this funding to support people who are experiencing homelessness in the city. The new service is more than just somewhere to sleep. It is a safe, secure, supportive place for people to rebuild their lives. We’re grateful to staff at Harp for their hard work to get the service up and running.”