A NEW and improved approach to homelessness is helping to keep thousands of residents off the streets.

The council has been working closely with the voluntary and private sector to offer support and rehabilitation for the borough’s homeless and rough sleepers by identifying and supporting those at risk as early as possible to prevent them reaching crisis point.

They have also developed a borough wide outreach provision, which will operate out of hours and at weekends.

Two rehabilitation and support hubs will also be created with emergency access beds available for the homeless.

One of these will be in Leigh, based at Leigh Court House, which will be operational by the end of January. A Wigan hub will also be open by summer 2018.

Cllr Terry Halliwell, cabinet member for housing and welfare, said: “Everybody should be given the opportunity to live independently and we are committed to helping our residents have access to the right home at the right time.

“In the last four years, the number of prevented homelessness cases increased by 59 per cent and last year alone, almost 5,000 potential homeless cases were prevented.

“We have also made significant investments to help support homeless services through The Deal for Communities Investment Fund and will continue to work with providers to deliver a cohesive approach so services can work together to better understand peoples circumstances and their requirements.

“Part of this understanding will be gathered by Homeless Champions, who we are looking to recruit by the end of January. They will support our town centre work during the day by checking in with people on our streets.”

If you see a homeless person on the streets, please email roughsleep@wigan.gov.uk with information such their location and you will also receive an update on their situation.

Those who find themselves on the streets can ring 01942 828777.