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New Complex Needs Unit



As part of its work to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping in the Borough, the Council is commissioning a special accommodation unit to provide support for rough sleepers with the most complex needs. This model has worked successfully in London and other cities in England and will assist some of the most vulnerable residents of Bedford Borough toward a more independent and settled way of life.


The units will be managed by One Housing group on behalf of the Council, who have lots of experience in providing similar units to meet the complex needs of rough sleepers and support them on a pathway to independence.


Building work is underway and the opening date is currently planned for October 2017.


The unit will have 24-hour staffing (the centre will have several staff on site 24/7). In total, the unit will be home to 31 individuals.


Factors to note, the centre will provide:

·         Specialist and high-level support for rough sleepers.

·         Each individual with high complex needs with a key worker.

·         Each individual with a support plan.

·         Stabilise and reduce risky and harmful behaviour.

·         Supported accommodation for those previously excluded from other hostels.

·         Ensure that clients have access to a range of services to be able to support their needs eg. drug and alcohol dependency.

·         Constructive activities as an alternative to life on the streets.

·         Skills and a bespoke plan to help individuals achieve more independent living.

·         Work in partnership with a wide variety of internal and external providers to ensure opportunities and choice for clients.


The centre will provide 12 complex needs units aimed at those rough sleepers who lead the most chaotic lifestyles. They will often have tried and failed to get help in other services and may be excluded from other supported living in Bedford Borough due to their behaviour. In order to assist these individuals and reduce the cost to the Council and other public services of meeting their needs, the Council is delivering the Complex Needs scheme which will provide a safe environment through which excluded individuals can re-engage with the services available to them.  This model has worked successfully in London and other cities in England and we are confident that it will assist some of the most vulnerable residents of Bedford toward a more independent and settled way of life.


Each individual will have the support of a key worker who will have access to a range of other agencies to provide additional and tailored support and expertise e.g tackling drug and alcohol dependency.


Support will include developing life skills to be able to lead independent lives e.g. budgeting, cooking, paying bills sourcing work opportunities.


Alternatively, once supported those with the most complex needs could be referred onto other supported living schemes with a view to becoming more independent.


The building will also include 19 units for those with medium to high needs who are likely to be more engaged with the system, but need additional support. It is expected that following support individuals with the most complex needs will move onto these units if they are not yet ready for independent living.


Cllr Mohammad Yasin, Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Services at Bedford Borough Council, said: “This unit will provide a home to 31 individuals who would otherwise be living on the streets. It will be a safe place for them to get back on their feet, a place where they develop their life skills build up their confidence, so that they can live independent and stable lives.”

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