Frequently Asked Questions - Chess Homeless

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have questions about the services that we offer at CHESS Homeless and we want everyone to be clearly informed. If you do not find the answers that you need on this page do please get in touch with us on 01245 281104, or email us at info@chesshomeless.org. Click on the question below to read the answer.

I am homeless, what do I do?

You need to complete a referral form for us (this can be found on our website under ‘Apply for a Bed’) and we also suggest that you make a homeless application with your local council.

Our Outreach Team may be able to help you with things like sleeping bag, basic food provisions and other support.

Will you give me a bed straightaway if I am homeless?

After you have completed a referral it will depend upon how many bed spaces we have available at the time. Often we are oversubscribed and your name will be added to our waiting list, but it is difficult to say how long the wait may actually be.

Do you take people with drug or alcohol issues?

We do take people with drug or alcohol related issues but there are policies to follow in these instances. You would be expected to complete a Risk Assessment as part of our referral process which we then use to determine the safety of all our residents.  We may suggest that you seek alternative help from other agencies such as Open Road or Helping Hands before we can offer you a bedspace. There is limited tolerance at the night shelter and any breaches could lead to a termination of your stay within CHESS.

What happens once someone has a space in CHESS?

Once a bed has been given a Support Worker is allocated who will work with you on accessing other services such as a GP, housing benefit, counselling, training etc, dependant upon your needs.  The room is available on a 28 day rolling contract and as long as you are working within the Change Programme, this can continue until you reach the point where you are able to move into one of our move-on properties where there is more independence.

People are asking me for money to access the night shelter, why do you charge?

Our service users are expected to make a contribution, known as a service charge, which helps to cover the costs of things like, heating, lighting, water and sewerage, property maintenance etc., in the same way and to get them used to paying bills in a home of their own.  At the Night Shelter in addition to their own room and a shared bathroom, they also receive an evening meal and access to breakfast and lunch facilities.

We help each person with their application for housing benefit which is then used to cover the service charge.

Someone I spoke to said they were asked to leave CHESS, why might this be?

The CHESS Programme works with service users to look at the reasons why they became homeless in the first instance, and will provide a dedicated Support Worker and access to other agencies to work through any issues. These are often complex but our hope and mission is that ultimately each person will get to a place where they can move on with their lives and become independent once again. There may be a number of reasons why someone may be asked to leave, but will ultimately be down to a breach of their licence agreement. CHESS Homeless operate with a healthy safeguarding policy and have a duty to ensure that everyone is safe – this includes service users, volunteers and staff.

What are you doing to help rough sleepers in the area?

Our Outreach Team runs a Rough Sleeper Initiative programme, which works with rough sleepers to provide their basic needs, support them with referrals to other agencies and try to help them find suitable accommodation. Any referrals about rough sleepers come through to us via Streetlink, and a member of our team will then pay them a visit. We have 6 rooms which are kept for temporary emergency use by the Outreach Team for any referrals they deem appropriate.

Why are people still sleeping rough in Chelmsford?

Unfortunately, people’s circumstances constantly change which lead to some finding they no longer have accommodation and if they have no friends or family to turn to they may end up sleeping rough. We do not currently have capacity to take on every rough sleeper but we are constantly looking at ways in which we can provide some support and assistance in the short term through our Rough Sleeper Initiative.

How do you keep service users, staff and volunteers safe?

The safety of our service users, Volunteers and staff is extremely important. We constantly review our Risk Assessments and Policies and there are rules in place for all to adhere to. Failure to abide by these rules may lead to eviction from the CHESS programme.

What donations does CHESS need?

We keep our website and social media pages updated with our immediate need for donations. We would suggest checking here before you bring any donations to the night shelter as our needs can often change. You can find more information here