For the second successive year, rough sleepers in Bedford Borough will be able to access emergency beds every night throughout the winter, not just when temperatures drop below freezing.
Accommodation will be available every night throughout the winter to 31 March, rather than just offering basic emergency beds in very cold weather.
This is in addition to existing accommodation which provides 39 beds for rough sleepers throughout the year at the ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ run by SMART in the town centre and the Kings Arms Project Nightshelter.
The newly-opened ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ is open 24 hours a day providing short-term accommodation and wrap-around support for rough sleepers.
A number of multi-agency professionals work together from the Hub providing advice from a variety of support services to help people get back into a home and living independently.
Bedford has seen a reduction in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets with the most recent Annual Rough Sleeper Estimate showing a third fewer people sleeping rough, from 76 in November 2017 to 51 in November 2018.
Recent figures report a further reduction with 30 people known to be sleeping on the street. However many of these people are either unable to access support, or choose not to.
This reduction has followed innovative and proactive steps by the Council and its partners, including the opening of One Housing Group’s ‘Clarence House’ providing support for those with the most complex needs, more outreach support encouraging vulnerable people to accept help, and additional accommodation.
Cllr Colleen Atkins, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety, Regulatory Services and Housing said “No one needs to sleep rough in Bedford Borough this winter. The ‘Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub’ provides beds every night of the year, and helps vulnerable people to access the support that is available to them.
“In addition to the beds that are open every night of the year, we are providing 22 extra beds every night throughout the winter period, until the end of March.
“We have seen some real success stories locally, with the number of people sleeping rough on our streets dropping dramatically thanks to the support that the Council and our partners have put in place.
“Working together we’ve been able to help a number of people that were long term rough sleepers off the streets and into accommodation. We will continue to provide this support and help the most vulnerable in our society to get back on their feet.”
To make sure you have access to an emergency bed we encourage anyone that is sleeping rough to visit the Prebend Day Centre, speak to any of our outreach workers, or contact the Council’s Housing Options Team at any time on 01234 267422
If anyone has concerns about someone they see sleeping rough, please report them to the outreach teams at www.streetlink.org.uk