Announcement follows the opening of the ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’
Rough sleepers in Bedford Borough will be able to access emergency beds every night throughout the winter – not just when temperatures drop below freezing.
For the second successive year in Bedford Borough accommodation will be available every night throughout the winter to 31 March.
This is on top of existing accommodation which provides 39 beds for rough sleepers throughout the year at the ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ run by SMART in the town centre and the Kings Arms Project Nightshelter.
The ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ is open 24 hours a day. It provides short-term accommodation and wrap-around support for rough sleepers. A number of multi-agency professionals work together from the Hub providing advice from a variety of support services to help people get back into a home and living independently.
The most recent Annual Rough Sleeper Estimate shows that a third fewer people are sleeping rough in Bedford. This drop is from 76 in November 2017 to 51 in November 2018. Recent figures report a further reduction with 30 people known to be sleeping on the street. However many of these people are either unable to access support, or choose not to.
Cllr Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for Community Safety, Regulatory Services and Housing said:
“No one needs to sleep rough in Bedford Borough this winter. The ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ provides beds every night of the year, and helps vulnerable people to access the support that is available to them.
“In addition to the beds that are open every night of the year, we are providing 22 extra beds every night throughout the winter period, until the end of March.
“We have seen some real success stories locally, with the number of people sleeping rough on our streets dropping dramatically thanks to the support that the Council and our partners have put in place.
“Working together we’ve been able to help a number of people that were long term rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation. We will continue to provide this support and help the most vulnerable in our society to get back on their feet.”
To ensure access to an emergency bed, the Council encourages anyone that is sleeping rough to visit the Prebend Day Centre. Here they can speak to outreach workers. Or they can contact the Council’s Housing Options Team at any time on 01234 267422
If anyone has concerns about someone they see sleeping rough, please report them to the outreach teams at www.streetlink.org.uk.