A COUNCIL has declared there is 'no one sleeping on the streets', according to an annual count.

Over two nights in September and November, between 1am and 4.30am, the North East Regional Homeless Group patrolled sites across Darlington, including West Park, Cockerton and the hospital, to provide a 'snapshot' of the numbers of people sleeping rough in the town.

Results from the two counts found no one was found sleeping rough, but Darlington Borough Council have said further checks will be carried out in January and again in March.

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Janette McMain, Darlington Borough Council’s, Housing Options manager, said: “We’ve been working hard with our many partners to tackle homelessness in Darlington and that is reflected in the fact that the latest checks revealed no one was sleeping rough on the borough’s streets.

“However, we are not complacent and we know there are some people who are ‘sofa surfing’ and our message to them is to get in touch as help and support is available if they need it.

“Our ongoing work with partners includes Street Support, whereby council staff, the 700 Club and police regularly talk to anyone seen begging or who are vulnerable to offer support.

“Working with our partners, the council has also developed a Preventing Homelessness and Rough Sleeper Strategy. We’ve also supported the national ‘No Second Night Out’ initiative since April last year and we work with the 700 Club to offer outreach support. No one needs to be sleeping rough in Darlington and we’d urge anyone who is facing homelessness to get in touch.”

Those working closely with foodbanks have said they still offer their services to the homeless, but acknowledged a decrease in the number of rough sleepers they come into contact with.

Caroline Todd, at King's Church Foodbank, said: "We do come into contact with people who are sleeping rough and we do have people who come in and are sofa surfing, but that is more through choice.

"I think Darlington has been really good in picking people up off the streets and offering them accommodation or service.

"There are a lot of people who won't have a roof over their head, but I must admit the percentage is smaller than it has been."