With temperatures falling, Bedford Borough Council has expanded its services which help and support those sleeping rough this winter.
The ‘Severe Weather Emergency Protocol’ which has operated for a number of years is in place again this winter, with a shelter, run by The Salvation Army, opening when the temperatures are forecast below freezing for three or more consecutive nights. This year the shelter will be run at their outreach centre on Kennedy Road, off Elstow Road Bedford.
This offers those sleeping rough a warm and safe place to sleep, along with an evening meal and breakfast the next morning.
All agencies and organisations that work with rough sleepers receive an alert when the shelter is open, and the Council website will also inform people when the shelter is open at www.bedford.gov.uk/wintershelter
Working in partnership with SMART, who run the Prebend Day Centre, the Council will also be providing 10 extra overnight beds which will be available all winter- from 1st November to 31st March. These beds are by referral only, managed by street outreach teams. This new extra provision is being funded following a bid by the Council to the Government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative fund announced earlier in 2018.
This funding is also providing additional outreach workers who have already supported ten people off the streets and into long-term accommodation. Six people have also moved into temporary accommodation provided by our partners ‘The Kings Arms Project’, and are being supported to find employment and long-term accommodation.
If you are aware of someone sleeping rough we urge you to report their location and any details to Bedford’s Rough Sleeper Street Outreach Partnership through the national rough sleeping report line at www.streetlink.org.uk
Cllr Anthony Forth, Portfolio Holder for Adults Services and Operational Housing said “We work with our partners to ensure that overnight shelter and food is provided to those sleeping rough in the coldest weather this winter. No one should have to sleep rough, and we are working hard with our partners throughout the year to help people move on from homelessness.”