A total of 26 rough sleepers were counted on Redbridge’s streets in just one night.

This year’s official rough sleeping count took place on Thursday November 29 and volunteers from Redbridge Council and homelessness charities in the borough travelled across the borough through the night.

The council sees the count as a “step in the right direction” towards ending homelessness in the borough.

Currently, the Salvation Army based in Ilford has extended its winter shelter opening dates and is busy working towards the delivery of Project Malachi, a temporary accommodation initiative that will see old shipping containers converted into apartments for rough sleepers.

Before the count began, cabinet member for housing Cllr Farah Hussain welcomed volunteers and said: “This will give us a snapshot of the situation and how best to use our resources to tackle this problem. There is so much we need to do and we are ready to do it.”

The count was held not only to gauge the situation on the borough’s streets but to offer support to those sleeping rough and giving them advice on how to access services during the winter months.

After the count, volunteers returned to The Welcome Centre in St Marys Road, Ilford, which offers counselling and some medical care to rough sleepers in the borough.

A council spokesman took to Twitter after the official count ended and said: “We are determined to end street homelessness in Redbridge and this is another step in doing so.

“Thank you to all the volunteers and although Ilford Salvation Army’s winter shelter is full, we were able to help one rough sleeper into emergency accommodation.”

If you see someone sleeping rough in Redbridge, get in touch with the council through Street Link by sending their location and the time in an alert at www.streetlink.org.uk or through the Streek Link app.

A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: “Our support for the ground-breaking pop-hostel in Ilford shows we will be bold in our efforts to stop rough sleeping. We are also opening an additional night shelter in the borough this month which means there will be 60 beds for rough sleepers this winter and beyond.

“As part of our renewed efforts to support residents in crisis we are tripling our outreach support, investing in the Housing First service to provide even more accommodation for those with history of living on the streets and appointing a coordinator to work with partners.

“An immigration advisor with language skills has also been recruited to work with non-EU nationals and increase our outreach work.”