A fundraising campaign has been launched to help save a threatened service which has come to the aid of nearly 125 homeless people across Derbyshire in the past year.
The P3 charity launched the Derbyshire Outreach Team (DOT) last January - but now the vital service is set to close next Wednesday because of funding cuts.
Now, THIS JUSTGIVING PAGE has been set up to raise funds in a bid to help keep DOT going - and Derbyshire residents and businesses are being urged to donate before an extremely concerning situation gets even worse.
The news of DOT's imminent closure comes just a day after latest latest Government statistics showed the number of rough sleepers in Derbyshire rose by 317 per cent between 2010 and last autumn.
DOT's team heads out in the early hours of the morning to respond to new referrals and visit known rough sleeping sites in order to make contact with people who are vulnerable, alone and sleeping on the streets of Derbyshire.
Team members work tirelessly to build up trust with those people and help them access support and accommodation.
Rebecca Harrington-Leigh, P3's assistant director of operations, said: "We are extremely worried for the wellbeing of people who are living on the streets across Derbyshire.
"The increase in the number of people known by DOT to be rough sleeping across the region is alarming and our concern for their continued support has only increased as there have been two deaths in Chesterfield in recent months.
"We are passionate about the service we provide and we are not bothered about who funds it or who delivers it.
"DOT has assessed and supported 122 people over the past 12 months and this figure doesn't include all of the people referred to us who have chosen for their own personal reasons not to engage.
"Sadly, there is a definite need for a more robust, joined-up response to the issue of street homelessness across Derbyshire - the people we are working with on a daily basis are acutely vulnerable on the street and need to be appropriately supported."
Helen Greenen, who is part of DOT, said: "We go out in the early hours of the morning, we speak to people living on the streets, we build up trust with them and we help them.
"Over the last year, for example, we've helped 56 people in Chesterfield.
"Six of those have been placed into supported housing, six have been returned to their families, eight have been placed into hostels - the list goes on.
"Nobody should be sleeping rough and I'm concerned that the closure of DOT will have a huge impact."
For more information about DOT, visit www.p3charity.org/services/derbyshire-street-outreach