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 Shelter

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, 7 days a week.

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
  • access to mental health services and health and wellbeing courses

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 shelter 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 Shelter

What will happen when I get to the shelter?

CHESS has five 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

Anyone can become homeless and the causes are varied. Sleeping rough can be dangerous, very hard and cause damage to health. In fact, 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, but there are a number of other organisations and churches based in Chelmsford that also offer support to the homeless. If a member of the public is concerned about a rough sleeper they have seen they can prompt a referral from the Outreach Team through Streetlink at Our Outreach Team cover Chelmsford, Maldon, Epping, Rochford, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point & Uttlesford.

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.

Shelter Opening Times:
Currently 7 days a week, 7am – 10pm

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 shelter where service users will have access to their own room, phone, internet and pc’s and washing and laundry facilities with access 24 hours, 7 days a week. 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 Annexe, service users will be given the opportunity to move onto one of our other 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

Training & Development

CHESS offer training and development courses in various subjects which helps develop the skills base of our service users. This increases opportunities to secure future employment which aids the journey towards an independent lifestyle. We are able to offer access to certificated training courses in the following:

  • Site Safety
  • First Aid
  • Manual Handling
  • Fire Marshalling
  • Address

    200 New London Road,
    Chelmsford, Essex CM2 9AB

  • Phone

    01245 281104