All rough sleepers will have a bed available throughout winter
All rough sleepers in St Albans District will be offered a bed during the cold winter months.
St Albans City and District Council has collaborated with partner organisations to ensure there is emergency accommodation for every rough sleeper who wants it.
The Winter Beds Project is providing three self-contained cabins, known as Bunkabins, with a total of four beds on land owned by the charity Emmaus Hertfordshire.
A further two emergency beds are available elsewhere as part of the project which is managed and part-funded by the Open Door charity.
In addition, Open Door’s homeless shelter in Bricket Road, St Albans, accommodates 12 people throughout the year.
Outreach workers, employed by Hightown Housing Association, are active in the District to make rough sleepers aware of the support.
Morgan Sindall helped equip the Bunkabins with the accommodation set up in time for the current cold snap which has seen temperatures plunge below freezing point.
Councillor Jacqui Taylor, Chair of the Council’s Housing and Inclusion Committee, said:
The number of rough sleepers that we have to deal with in the District at any one time is quite small.
Every year, with our partner organisations, we look to provide extra beds to make sure that no one needs to sleep outside as the temperatures fall.
The Winter Beds Project provides a vital service and is an exemplary example of partnership working between the Council, Open Door, Hightown Housing Association, Emmaus and Morgan Sindall.
I want to thank all those involved and especially the Winter Beds volunteers and supporters of the Open Door charity without whom this project would not happen.
Lucy Gaygusuz for Open Door said:
This is the sixth year in a row that we have run the Winter Beds Project in St Albans.
It is there to prevent people dying on the streets when the temperatures plummet by providing them with self-contained accommodation and access to support services that address their housing and other needs.
Last winter, the project provided accommodation every night from December through to April and helped 17 people who would otherwise have slept rough
Each cabin provides secure accommodation with heating, electricity and en-suite facilities. Guests are provided with toiletries and given breakfast each morning.
Rough sleepers given shelter are also offered long-term support to turn their lives around with the prospect of a permanent home of their own.
This support programme includes courses in life skills at Open Door which is run by Hightown Housing Association and acts as a drop-in centre during the day.
Gemma Richardson, Director of Care and Supported Housing for Hightown Housing Association, said:
Our dedicated outreach workers are busy engaging with rough sleepers so no one has to sleep outside in the freezing weather.
The support services are absolutely vital and we are grateful to St Albans City and District Council for funding an extra outreach worker during the winter period.
Anyone concerned about a rough sleeper is advised to contact the charity StreetLink on www.streetlink.org.uk/. They will inform the Council or other public agencies.
Cllr Taylor added:
The best help anyone can provide rough sleepers is to support their local charities by making a donation or by volunteering.
To volunteer to help with the Winter Beds Project, please contact Lucy Gaygusuz at email@example.com.
For information about making a donation to a local charity that helps rough sleepers, please go to:https://opendoorstalbans.org/donating/ or https://emmaus.org.uk/hertfordshire/donate/.