HOMELESSNESS is normally near the top of your sympathy agenda while you’re nice and cosy in your warm house during the colder winter months.

But what about in the summer, when dehydration and sun stroke can be just as dangerous as sleeping outside in the cold?

Arc’s Outreach team goes out in the mornings to check on rough sleepers in Taunton, and further afield in Somerset.

The County Gazette has launched a £40,000 campaign to keep funding Outreach for another year - so the team can continue helping those in need, whatever the weather.

A spokesman for Outreach said: “As the weather improves and summer takes over, the conditions for rough sleeping can appear to be better than they are in the winter.

“The unexpected snowy weather earlier in the year left many of us concerned for the welfare of those sleeping outside; but it is important to remember that the summer weather can present its own problems and that homelessness is still an issue, no matter the conditions outside.

“This year’s summer has so far been better than we’ve experienced in some time, with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees and lasting the duration of the season.

“While many have been celebrating this heat, others, such as rough sleepers, have been struggling to cope with the rising temperatures.”

The spokesman explained a rough sleeper’s lack of access to essentials such as water, medication and sun cream, makes the summer months a cause for concern.

SAVE OUTREACH: County Gazette launches £40,000 campaign to fund vital rough sleeper services

“The summer weather can create health concerns such as dehydration, sun stroke or sunburn and enhancement of allergies and lung related issues such as asthma, COPD and hay fever.

“The heat can also make personal hygiene much more of an issue with limited access to a shower or spare change of clothes.

“Taking shoes off while sleeping can be a concern for some due to fear of them being stolen at night.”

Finding somewhere to sleep gets even more difficult in the summer, as places are busier with better weather and during the summer holidays.

Not only do rough sleepers need somewhere to rest their head for the night, shelter during the day is also needed to protect themselves from the sun.

Arc recommends to those wishing to help to give a rough sleeper a bottle of water when the weather is particularly warm.

SAVE OUTREACH: Real stories from former rough sleepers helped by Arc's Outreach team

The Outreach workers say homelessness is still as daunting whether it’s sunny, rainy or snowing outside. Underlying issues such as poor mental health and loneliness are still prevalent even if the sun is shining.

The spokesman added: “Although the conditions may change and different difficulties appear, homelessness is still homelessness, no matter the weather. Issues such as poor mental state, isolation and loneliness can still be present, even when the sun is shining.

“Rough sleepers become very resilient and tolerant to the weather and their surroundings, because they have no choice but to do so. But the Outreach Team need the help through the recently-launched campaign, in order to provide the support needed among this community.

“With the help from Arc’s Outreach team and other charities such as Open Door, rough sleepers can access water, showers, sun cream and a fresh change of clothes as well as a friendly face in the morning and someone to talk to.”

The funding for Outreach runs out in December, with local authorities in Somerset set to pay around 50 per cent of next year’s bill, leaving a shortfall of £40,000.

Arc CEO Justin Roxburgh said: “We are all aware of the numbers of people on our streets who appear to be homeless but we can never be sure.

“Some people who are begging are not actually homeless, they are raising money for other needs, perhaps drug addiction.

“By donating to Arc you can be sure the money is being well spent. People can be assured 100 per cent of the money they donate in this campaign will go to fund the Outreach Team, out in all weathers, early in the mornings supporting rough sleepers.”

To support the vital work Outreach does helping the most vulnerable in the community, visit justgiving.com/campaign/SaveOutreach.

Donations can also be made to Arc through cheques to TAH, cash donations bank transfers.

Contact Rosie Hather on rhather@arcinspire.co.uk or 01823 271326.