THE number of people sleeping rough in the Taunton and Wellington area has plummeted... just as temperatures look set to head in the same direction.

It is estimated that about 15 people are bedding down on the streets in the district on any given night – down from over 20 this time last year.

The drop follows the formation of a partnership between Taunton Deane Council and Taunton Association for the Homeless, which is operating an outreach project aiming to reach those hardest hit.

TAH has also created additional bed space at its Lindley House hostel in East Reach, Taunton.

The council is trying to prevent homelessness under the Government’s No Second Night Out policy, and tries to contact people within 24 hours of first sleeping rough.

Cllr Jean Adkins, executive councillor for housing services, said: “This reduction is good news, but we’re not complacent as one rough sleeper is one too many and we hope the No Second Night Out scheme will bring numbers down further.”

If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, call 0800 917 7765 to tell a TAH project worker who can offer further support.

TAH chief executive John Shipley, said: “We have regular contact with people who are new to rough sleeping or in temporary accommodation, many of whom are in a trap of not being able to keep or gain employment until they find settled accommodation.”

Landlords interested in renting to those on lower incomes who are looking to avoid long-term homelessness can call the TAH Bond Scheme on 01823-271326 or email BondScheme@tahltd