Rogers Court homeless housing project gets off the ground

(l-r) Mayor Dave Hodgson, Steve Fletcher (Bedford Borough Council), Ben Salisbury (Kier) and Lee Phanco (Bedford Borough Council) joined Anita McCallum (SMART CJS) (foreground)

A 20-unit facility providing housing for the homeless will be open to residents next month, less than six months after building work began.

The Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson, SMART CJS CEO, Anita McCallum and Bedford Borough Council’s, Lee Phanco, visited the Rogers Court site this week to inspect progress.

Rogers Court, on the corner of Kingsway and Cauldwell Street, has been bought by Bedford Council using money from the Government to provide short-term accommodation for people who need help to put their lives back together.

Read: Flats for homeless people plan approved with acclaim

It forms an important part of the Borough’s strategy to aim to make rough sleeping a thing of the past.

SMART CJS Bedford, which also runs the Prebend Day Centre and has been coordinating the Borough’s pandemic response to the homeless, will be providing the service and support to residents 24/7 with Bedford Borough Council the landlord of the project and managing the building works with central government grant funding.

Rogers Court was previously part of Bedford College

“It is absolutely incredible to see how well this building project has developed since it started at the beginning of April,” said Mayor Dave Hodgson.

“With an August handover date, that’s less than 6 months to have completed all works required. Well done to all involved.”

Anita McCallum, CEO of SMART CJS Bedford, said: “We are very much looking forward to delivering the rough sleeper support service in Rogers Court.

“It’s a huge step forward for some of the most vulnerable in our society to have their own flats with cooking facilities, bedrooms and bathrooms.

“The hope and the security that this kind of housing provides means a quicker recovery and integration into more positive and independent living. We expect most to stay with us three to six months, but people can stay for up to two years if needed.”

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