New accommodation for rough sleepers

New accommodation for rough sleepers

New accommodation for rough sleepers

 Published: 22-Nov-2021

New supported accommodation for rough sleepers, providing safe beds for up to 10 people, has been opened by Gravesham Borough Council in Gravesend.

The building on Wrotham Road will provide settled accommodation and will have staff on site day and night to provide support to residents with complex needs. There will also be beds available for those in urgent need of somewhere to stay in an emergency.

It has been bought and refurbished by the council, with the day to day support being provided by the Government’s Next Steps programme, which aims to ensure that those found accommodation during the Coivid-19 pandemic do not return to the streets.

It was refurbished in partnership with Swale Heating, Breyer, Turnkey, Howdens, and Secure Electronic Applications (SEA).

Opening the new centre on Monday (22 November), Cllr Jenny Wallace, Gravesham Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing Services, said: “People can end up without somewhere to live for a myriad of reasons. It can happen to anyone.

“Here in Gravesham we are doing all we possibly can to find those who need our help a safe place to sleep and all the support they need to find a permanent home.

“Working with our invaluable partners, our homeless team worked miracles at the start of the pandemic to get those who were sleeping rough into safe accommodation almost overnight, but they used that simply as a starting point to ensure those we support have stayed off the streets.

“This new accommodation is a significant step up in the level of support we can offer people in their efforts to escape from homelessness.”

In the past year the council has made a number of changes to its team to ensure it is providing the best support it can to those who need it.

These include the appointment of a new Rough Sleeping Partnership Manager to coordinate the work of the council and its partners; a Housing Resettlement Officer who works with those in temporary accommodation to help them find a route to a permanent home; and a Prison Navigator who works to ensure a release from prison does not result in homelessness.

Working with partners at Serveco, it has introduced rough sleeper workers who work directly with those who need help. Local rough sleepers also now have access to a dedicated Mental Health Practitioner and a Harm Reduction Officer helping prevent relapses into drug and alcohol addiction.

Cllr Wallace added: “At the start of the pandemic we found safe accommodation for rough sleepers in the Borough at very short notice, and I am so pleased to be able to say that not one of those has found themselves back on the streets.

“But we will never rest on our laurels or consider the job as being done.

“This new property is a high profile example of an awful lot of work that is going on in the Borough through ourselves and various charities and partners to tackle the scourge of homelessness.

“I know a number of businesses have donated time and materials to convert this building, and I thank them on behalf of each and every person who will stay here and benefit from the support available here in the coming years.”

 Last updated: 23-Nov-2021

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