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Support for homeless and rough sleepers continues to increase

Dawn Centre

MORE than 200 additional places to stay are now being provided by the city council to ensure that no-one has to sleep rough in Leicester.

The accommodation includes a mix of self-contained rooms at the council’s Dawn Centre, privately rented flats, bed and breakfast places and city hotels.

Although the majority of the units are occupied, but some are being kept free to ensure that homeless people who have symptoms of Coronavirus can self-isolate. To date this has not been necessary.

All of the additional properties being provided by the council are furnished and, with the support of partners, including the charity Midland Langar Seva Society, the council is providing weekly food parcels, fuel vouchers and other essential items to each one.

The council’s city catering staff are preparing hot food in a local school kitchen, which is being delivered to the Dawn Centre every day. This means residents of the Dawn Centre no longer have to gather in the communal dining room to prepare food.

Assistant city mayor for housing Cllr Elly Cutkelvin said: “We continue to do everything possible to ensure that no-one needs to sleep rough in Leicester.

“Our outreach team are out talking to people in the city centre, and the police are regularly notifying us of people who need support. We are making that support available either by paying for accommodation or referring people to our partners in health for support with alcohol or drug dependencies.

“We are also talking to people and their landlords to try and prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. This continues to be a priority for us during the pandemic.

“There is no need for anyone to sleep rough in Leicester, but we ask that people contact us in daytime hours so that we can assess their situation and have the time to make sure they get the support they need.”

The Midland Langar Seva Society is among a number of local charities and voluntary organisations working with the city council to provide much-needed support to vulnerable people affected by the pandemic.

To date the charity has delivered well over 1,000 food parcels, including meals prepared and cooked by volunteers, to people living in the temporary accommodation provided by the council.

The council is also continuing to working closely with other partners including Help the Homeless, Action Homeless and The Y Housing and Support service, who have increased the services they already provide.

Cllr Cutkelvin said: “Despite facing difficult times themselves, local charities have stepped up to help us keep people safe and off the streets. The strong partnerships we already had in place in Leicester have really helped in these unprecedented times and demonstrate that by working together we can achieve so much more.

“I would particularly like to thank everyone involved with Midland Langar for the support they are giving to so many people. We are so grateful for their hard work and compassion.”

Anyone who has been made homeless or is rough sleeping is asked to call the city council on 0116 454 1008 during working hours from Monday to Friday. This will enable a homeless prevention officer to properly assess their needs.

In an emergency situation only - at weekends and out of hours - people can call the Dawn Centre on 0116 221 2770.