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Beds available for all rough sleepers throughout winter

Publication date:

Extra COVID-secure accommodation is available for all rough sleepers in St Albans District during the cold winter months.

St Albans City and District Council has worked with partner organisations to ensure a bed is available for every rough sleeper who wants one.

Five self-contained cabins, known as Bunkabins, with a total of six beds have been provided at land owned by the charity Emmaus Hertfordshire.

A further two emergency beds are available elsewhere with this Winter Beds Project being managed and part-funded by the Open Door charity.

In addition, Open Door’s homeless shelter in Bricket Road, St Albans, will be in operation as it is throughout the year.

Outreach workers, employed by Hightown Housing Association (HA), are also active in the District to make rough sleepers aware of the support.

Councillor Chris White, Leader of the Council, said:

The number of rough sleepers that we have to deal with in the District at any one time is generally quite small.

Every year, though, we look to provide extra beds to make absolutely sure that no one need sleep outside as the temperatures plummet.

With the help of our partners, I am confident that we have ensured that enough beds are available for all who want them.

The need to ensure accommodation is COVID secure has meant we were not able to expand Open Door accommodation or use a local church for emergencies as we have done in previous years.

Bunkabins are an excellent addition and shows we’re determined to keep rough sleepers as safe as possible from the cold and the pandemic as they are an especially vulnerable group.

Lucy Gaygusuz for Open Door said:

This is the firth year in a row that we have run the Winter Beds Project in St Albans.

As was the case last year, we can offer people who would otherwise be rough sleeping, a safe, self-contained, COVID-secure space to sleep away from the streets.

The Winter Beds Project has always been a volunteer led service. We have an amazing group of dedicated volunteers who are all ready to make sure no one in St Albans has to sleep rough this winter.

Rough sleepers given shelter are also being offered long-term support to change their lifestyle 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 HA and acts as a drop-in centre during the day.

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 White added; The best help anyone can provide rough sleepers and those at risk of rough sleeping is to support your local charities.

“We work with them to encourage individuals with often complex problems to turn their lives around on a long-term basis.”

If anyone wants to give financial help, they are advised to make a donation to one of the charities involved with rough sleepers.

Information on this is here: https://opendoorstalbans.org/donating/, https://emmaus.org.uk/hertfordshire/donate/, http://www.centre33.org/donations.html, https://www.druglink.co.uk/donate.

Councillor contact: Councillor Chris White, Leader and Chair of the Policy Committee: cllr.c.white@stalbans.gov.uk; 01727 845300.

Media contact:  John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer: 01727- 819533; john.mcjannet@stalbans.gov.uk.