Brighter Futures have this week announced that thanks to additional funding secured by Stoke-on-Trent City Council through the Government’s Rough Sleeper Initiative Cold Weather Fund, they will be supporting Stoke-on-Trent Churches Community Night Shelter to open and provide an additional nine emergency beds for rough sleepers during the winter period.
The investment by Stoke-on-Trent City Council will see Brighter Futures providing staffing and support to rough sleepers. The Winter Night Shelter, previously open Friday to Sunday and run by volunteers, will be enhanced with additional staffing from Brighter Futures four nights a week to add to the current weekend service in place.
The funding has been provided as part of the city council’s strategy to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness prevention and is targeted at increasing the number of emergency beds available during the winter period.
Jackie Ambler, Stoke-on-Trent Community Churches adds: “We welcome the investment from the City Council and the opportunity to enhance our already well-established weekend service, the additional support provided by Brighter Futures means the Stoke-on-Trent Churches Night Shelter can open seven days a week during the coming weeks. We know first-hand just how desperately these extra beds are needed.”
During Severe Weather emergency protocols ensure that all rough sleepers are provided with emergency accommodation during extreme temperatures.
Gemma Finn, City Rough Sleeper Coordinator at Brighter Futures states: “Our Rough Sleeper Team works 365 day-a-year to help people sleeping rough. Last week alone, we helped 36 people into emergency accommodation during our severe weather process with support from the city council, which now has two dedicated housing needs officers working specifically with rough sleepers. Finding appropriate accommodation for everyone sleeping rough can be difficult, but we are committed to ensuring that no-one is spends a night out during freezing temperatures. The additional beds being created are a really welcomed addition. They’ll ensure we can readily supply a safe warm space, shelter, food and support at a critical time. “
The additional beds couldn’t have come at a more needed time, with severe weather forecast to last all week, the extra beds made available from Tuesday were put to full use as temperatures plummeted.
Councillor Randy Conteh, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet member for housing, communities and safer city, said: “We are committed to doing all we can, working with a range of partners, to ensure that people who are homeless are able to access the right support that is tailored to their needs. And this recent cold weather makes this even more of a priority for us.
“There is a wide range of services available in the city for people who are sleeping rough or are homeless, and we’re delighted that this funding can be used to ensure anyone who needs it will have a warm, safe place to sleep – and somewhere to get a hot meal – during this extremely cold spell.
“This is a great example of the partnership working that takes place around the city to support homeless households and rough sleepers.”