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New app to report those sleeping on the streets across Sussex
Residents are being urged to report where they see rough sleepers using a new mobile phone app.
With temperatures continuing to plummet across Sussex, the technology enables members of the public to pinpoint homeless people via Google Maps.
Originally set up in London, Streetlink.org.uk has been rolled out across the country with a new website and mobile phone app released in time for winter.
Homeless workers can then use the system to locate the individual and are sent out to provide food and shelter.
Rick Henderson, the scheme’s chief executive, said: “One of the things people tell us a lot is they see people sleeping in doorways, parks or disused garages and they don’t know what to do. We want to harness their desire to help.
“We hope this will make a significant contribution to ending rough sleeping. Importantly, it will help get to people early – to avoid people getting into that cycle of drinking, drugs and antisocial behaviour.
“The earlier you can get to people, the more likely it is you can cut their career on the streets short."
The app’s home page gives users two options: to either report a rough sleeper or to alert the authorities that you are sleeping rough. From there, you can enter the whereabouts of the rough sleeper and any specific details, such as whether they are behind a green bin or under a picnic table.
The second section asks for any details about the individual, including name, age, appearance and anything the authorities should be aware of such as mental health problems.
The final page asks for your contact details, although this is voluntary. With the cold snap beginning to bite, the scheme has been pushed by local groups on Twitter.
The service has also received high profile exposure thanks to stars such as singer Eliza Doolittle and comedian Eddie Izzard, who Tweeted details to their nearly three million followers.
Steve Woodbridge, from Brighton YMCA, said: “It is a brilliant scheme but one we don’t have a great deal of experience with yet. It is still in its early stages and I don’t think many people really know about it.
“If we can get the word out there I’m sure it will be a great help.”
For more details, to report a rough sleeper or to download the app, visit www.streetlink.org.uk.