Apply for a Bed - Chess Homeless

Apply for a Bed

What is Homelessness?

Homelessness covers 3 areas.
  1. At Notice – You have just received notice that the accommodation you are in is no longer going to be yours. This could be if you have defaulted on rent or your mortgage payment, and the landlord or mortgage company are seeking to regain the legal right of the property. This usually takes place by you being given 2 months to vacate the property. You could have been evicted from staying with family or the relationship is breaking down and your days in the house are numbered.
  2. Sofa Surfing – This is when you have no legal right to a fixed abode. Often this is where an individual is sleeping at a friend’s house. This will often be the stage before we see the person ending up on the streets as a rough sleeper.
  3. Rough Sleepers – A considerable number of rough sleepers will have been through stages 1 & 2 before becoming a rough sleeper. Imagine how it must feel losing your home or rental property, moving in with a friend or friends, to then also be asked to move out from there (often a few houses will have been stayed in before the streets are the only place left). The feeling of desperation and nobody wanting you can have lasting effects.

Apply to the Nightshelter

At CHESS we want to help you get back on your feet after your recent experience.

You must appreciate that demand for the services we provide is very high so we can only accept those who are prepared to work with us to resolve their difficulties.

Please read all the information on this page carefully before you accept the bed-space offered by CHESS. The information is also available in leaflet form.

Before you are admitted you will need the following;

  • ID
  • National Insurance No.
  • Evidence of benefits or pay

Our commitment to you

We will provide you with your own room for up to 28 days between the hours of 7pm and 9am. Monday – Sundays and Bank Holidays are 5pm – 10am.

We Provide

  • heat, light, breakfast and dinner
  • hygiene and laundry facilities
  • second hand clothing (which is often available)
  • 1-1 support worker
  • help with benefit claims and financial difficulties
  • Counselling/Mentoring

In return we expect


  • to respect and co-operate with staff who try to help you
  • not to treat the facilities as a “hotel” (if you don’t use them someone else will!)
  • keep to the house rules
  • to pay the daily charge promptly on your benefit or pay day
  • to sign on for benefits the day after entry to CHESS
  • to provide evidence of earnings and benefits when required
  • to support Housing Benefit claims for CHESS
  • to shower on entry and keep your room clean and tidy
  • to keep appointments with health professionals which are made for you

Please be aware that CHESS has a zero tolerance to alcohol and drugs, which are strictly banned from the Night Shelter

What will happen when I get to the night shelter?

CHESS has seven single bedrooms. If you agree to commit yourself to working with CHESS staff to resolve your difficulties then you will be allocated a room. Your initial stay is for 28 nights which can be extended (provided you stick to the rules, remain homeless and pay your service charge. This will allow you sufficient time to agree a risk and needs assessment along with a support plan, which aims to help you with any problems and more permanent accommodation.


We encourage residents to get jobs. Your contribution towards your keep will depend upon how much you earn.

Leaving CHESS

We will aim to help support you and move you to independent accommodation subject to your behaviour and capabilities.

Bed application

Rough Sleepers & 'No Second Night Out'

Life on the streets can be very hard, but there are a number of other organisations and churches that are based in Chelmsford that offer support to the homeless.

CHESS operates the ‘No 2nd Night Out’ to both Maldon District Council and Chelmsford City Council. This is where any member of the public can pick up a phone and report a rough sleeper in the area (more information for this can be found at Streetlink) the online reporting mechanism is also available on this site.

Anyone can become homeless, and sleeping rough can be dangerous and cause damage to health.

The longer someone sleeps rough, the greater the risk that they will become trapped on the streets and vulnerable to becoming a victim of abuse and crime, developing drug or alcohol problems, or experiencing problems with their health.

Rough sleepers may not be known to local services because they remain out of sight, bedding down at different times of day or night, and moving from place to place.

Not all rough sleepers are aware that advice and support is available to them. For those people who are sleeping rough CHESS can support by providing food & drinks, hygiene and laundry facilities, sleeping bags, clothing and toiletries.

Night Shelter Opening Times:

Monday – Saturday 07.30am – 8.00am and 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Sundays & Bank Holidays – 8.30am-9.00am and 8.00pm-9.00pm

Winter Project

From December to February our Winter Project provides beds each night for a limited number of people who would otherwise be forced to sleep rough.Beds are generally allocated on a “first come, first served” basis.

To get more information speak to one of the Night Shelter staff during its normal opening hours.

To apply for a short-term place in the Night Shelter you must contact our Night Shelter (01245 281104). Because of the demand we cannot guarantee that space will be available but we will record your details in case a suitable bed becomes vacant.


Mentoring enables each resident who wishes to take part in the scheme, to have their own mentor in addition to a CHESS Support Worker. The Support Worker will continue to work with the resident on their individual Support Plan, designed to help the resident develop to the point where they no longer need CHESS’s support.

The mentor will act more as a companion on the journey, meeting the resident regularly for an open talk on how they are getting on and how they are feeling about it, and where necessary, helping them as they feel their way towards important decisions they need to make or face things they find difficult.

Moving through CHESS

CHESS Homeless operates a ‘Change Programme’ that helps those single adults who have become homeless regain control of their lives. We offer each service user (this is a term we use to describe our guests) an opportunity to move through the Change Programme and onto either, supported or independent accommodation. There is also scope to become an employee under our training and employment scheme.

CHESS Homeless work with several partners offering rehabilitation; training; independent accommodation;
job opportunities; mentors and much more.


Each one of our service users is assigned a Support Worker whilst they are with us. This helps to find the key opportunities and challenges that face the individual. The Support Worker’s role is to meet with the person regularly and help them to progress on with their life.

CHESS Change Programme includes: a direct access night shelter where service users will have access to their own room, phone, internet and pc’s and washing and laundry facilities. They have access to this from 7pm – 9am Monday to Friday, 7pm – 10am on a Saturday and 5pm – 9am on a Sunday. Once in a position we will be able to move the service user onto our Annexe where they receive their front door key and can come and go as they please. There is continued support given to all of our service users from when they join CHESS. From the annex, service users will be given the opportunity to move onto one of our 4 move-on properties before moving out of CHESS into a more permanent accommodation. CHESS is only able to accommodate people for up to 2 years.

Moving on from Chess

How do you find accommodation for someone who is or has been homeless?

Of course, registered social landlords, such as the Chelmer Housing Partnership, do provide accommodation for the single homeless people we deal with when it is available, but the process of registering with the local council and bidding for places can be long and quite intimidating.

We often find ourselves trying to persuade service users not to lose heart.

An alternative is to place the homeless person with a private landlord, but many private landlords are reluctant to house those on benefits or with a history of homelessness. Even when someone is placed in privately rented accommodation they can find themselves feeling isolated and can forget to do essential things like putting money aside to pay for food and rent.

We have been able to work with some landlords by offering to support both them and the tenant to make sure that the tenancy doesn’t break down. We are able to offer support to those moved into private accommodation, giving them advice on various matters, including the items needed to keep their new homes clean and tidy, Housing Benefit, living with others and more.

Could you be one of our landlords?

If you have a property you wish to let which you think might be suitable and would like to help those less fortunate than yourself, do please contact us through our office 01245 281104 or email


Wingspan Works is part of the charity and offers employment and hope to those who have been long term unemployed and those that have been through the judicial service.

This offers our services users a route back onto their own feet. Having financial independence can do a lot to your own confidence. To find out more about Wingspan Works please click here

  • Address

    200 New London Road,
    Chelmsford, Essex CM2 9AB

  • Phone

    01245 281104