ADDITIONAL investment of over £1million is helping to ensure that no-one has to sleep rough in Leicester this winter, despite unprecedented challenges for homelessness services.
Leicester City Council has provided emergency accommodation and additional support to over 500 people since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Over the winter months, the council’s homelessness services become even more vital to those in need.
With dormitory style emergency accommodation no longer safe to operate due to the need for social distancing, the city council has been successful in finding more than 180 self-contained flats and rooms in shared houses over the last nine months. These provide safe, short-term accommodation for people who would otherwise have nowhere to stay.
The city council’s Dawn Centre continues to provide 45 self-contained rooms for emergency accommodation, assessments and access to expert medical help and support.
Work with local charities Action Homeless, Help the Homeless and One Roof has also helped secure funding for an additional 26 self-contained flats and rooms at locations across the city. These will be made available over the winter months to provide emergency accommodation to anyone at risk of rough sleeping.
Temporary hotel accommodation is also available in emergencies.
All of the accommodation is backed-up with one-to-one help and support from the city council and its partners to help people move on to long-term, settled accommodation.
The extra investment is part of Leicester City Council’s ‘Everyone In’ programme, which is designed to ensure that no-one needs to sleep rough in the city.
To support this, additional funding has been secured so that outreach services can be extended to operate seven days a week over the winter to offer accommodation and support to anyone found sleeping rough.
Assistant city mayor for housing Cllr Elly Cutkelvin said: “This has been a challenging year, but we continue to do everything we can to ensure that no-one needs to sleep rough in Leicester.
“Our officers and partner charities have pulled out all the stops to ensure that we have more than enough safe and self-contained accommodation in flats and shared houses across the city. This means that our hostel provision at the Dawn Centre can continue safely and that we have the emergency resources that we need to see us through the cold, winter months.
“Sometimes people will refuse our offers of help – even when its freezing – but outreach support will be running seven days a week and will persist in getting everyone in and making sure that they receive the support they need.
“I am very proud of what has been achieved in very difficult circumstances. The latest intelligence from council officers and our partner charities is that rough sleeping is at an all-time low in the city.”
As well as accommodation, the city council and other local organisations continue to offer a wide range of additional help and support for homeless people all year round, and over the Christmas and New Year period.
The Dawn Centre, in Conduit Street, will be open every day throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
Help the Homeless will be providing a food essentials delivery service on Wednesdays. Call 0116 464 5123 for details.
The Bridge Homelessness to Hope charity, 43 Melton Street, offers hot food in a warm and friendly place to meet and chat from Monday to Wednesday, 10am to 1pm. It will also be hosting a special lunch on Christmas Day from 11am to 3pm, by invitation only. For details email Dave@BridgeLeicester.org
Rachel’s Table will be offering food, hot drinks, toiletries and other essentials from its base in Calais Hill throughout the festive period. It will be open every day from 3.30-4.30pm, expect Tuesday 22nd and 29thDecember, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
No5 and the Y Support Project, at 5 Hill Street, will be offering flexible access arrangements over Christmas and New Year, with breakfast and packed lunches available for rough sleepers.
And Triangle at Holy Trinity Church, off Upper King Street, will be offering a takeaway Christmas meal, gifts and food hampers, on Friday 18th December from 6pm. The group will also be offering a free hot meal on New Year’s Day from 6pm, and runs a foodbank every Wednesday morning.
People will be expected to follow all current covid safety restrictions, including social distancing, when using any of these services.
Details of these and other Christmas and New Year homeless services, including arrangements for access to healthcare, will be available online at www.leicester.gov.uk/homelessness
The best way to support anyone that might be sleeping rough in the city this winter is to report their location so they get the support they need. An easy way to do this is to contact StreetLink.
StreetLink is a website, mobile app and phone-line that helps people to alert local councils to rough sleepers so they can get the support they need. You can make contact via www.streetlink.org.uk, by downloading the free app, or by calling 0300 500 0914.
Anyone who is homeless, or worried about someone else who is, can also call Leicester City Council’s emergency homelessness line at any time on 0116 221 2770.