Mayor Dave Hodgson and Cllr Colleen Atkins who visited the Hub on World Homelessness Day prior to its opening, alongside colleagues from SMART Image:Bedford Borough Council

Hub will be open 24 hours a day

Bedford Borough Council has extended services for people sleeping rough with the opening of an ‘Assessment & Somewhere Safe to Stay’ Hub. The Hub will be open 24 hours a day, offering emergency homelessness advice and somewhere safe for people who are sleeping rough to stay for a short time.

Professional advice will be on offer from a variety of support services to help people find the best way back into a settled home.

Bedford has seen a reduction in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets. The most recent Annual Rough Sleeper Estimate showed that a third fewer people were sleeping rough from 76 in November 2017 to 51 in November 2018.

To access the Hub, people who are rough sleeping or are at imminent risk of homelessness will be referred by visiting the Housing Options Team at the Council, the SMART Prebend Centre, the Nightshelter or any of Bedford’s Rough Sleeper Outreach Services. The SMART Prebend Centre will also continue to provide a Day Centre service.

Once referred to the Hub, they will then be assigned a ‘navigator’ and support worker who will be their continued points of contact throughout their journey into settled accommodation and independence.

The navigator will help them with all aspects of their journey to finding a home; advising them about their rights, helping them to access support services and finding the right kind of housing.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for Community Safety, Regulatory Services and Housing, said:

“The aim of the ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay’ Hub is not just to give someone a roof over their head for the night. This is part of our ‘rapid rehousing pathway’ to get people off the streets and into settled solutions to end their homelessness.

“This new Hub is a real step forward in how we can support people sleeping rough locally; providing shelter and support, all in one place in our town centre.”

The Hub was made possible following a bid by the Council to the Government. Over £450,000 was awarded to deliver the Hub, alongside two ‘navigators’ and a local lettings officer to deliver bespoke and effective solutions.