Hotline will alert homeless rescue service
Thames Reach Bondway is launching a hotline for housing staff to phone if they discover somebody sleeping rough.
The phone line, which will be opened early next year, is also intended as a first port of call for the emergency services, especially fire and ambulance services, which may be aware of rough sleepers but unsure what to do about them.
Once the location of rough sleepers has been registered the Thames Reach Bondway street rescue service can pick up each case and help the clients into hostel accommodation.
If the hotline is a success, it will be rolled out later in the year so that members of the general public can call if they are aware of somebody rough sleeping in their area.
Thames Reach Bondway chief executive Jeremy Swain said opening the line up to the public would mean the charity would be able to cover more ground and make contact with more rough sleepers.
'The eyes and ears of the people on the street are actually the other emergency services,' he said.
But he admitted that until the shortage of hostel beds and move-on accommodation was alleviated, the hotline would not fulfil its potential.
'The big problem with the hotline is the whole thing falls foul if you can't do anything with anybody.'