Brighter Futures has been supporting Stoke-on-Trent Churches Community Night Shelter throughout the winter period, thanks to funding secured by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, to provide an extra nine beds for people sleeping rough.
The investment has seen Brighter Futures providing additional staffing and support to people who have experienced rough sleeping. The Winter Night Shelter, previously open Friday to Sunday and run by volunteers, is being enhanced 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 approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness prevention and is targeted at increasing the number of emergency beds available during the winter period.
Brighter Futures also help to support the city council when Severe Weather Emergency Procedure (SWEP), which is activated when the forecasted temperature for a given night is at zero or below freezing. During this time, all people sleeping rough are supported to access emergency accommodation in different places across the city.
Gemma Finn, Brighter Futures, and Stoke-on-Trent Rough Sleeper Coordinator says:
“Our Rough Sleeper Team work 365 days-a-year to help people sleeping rough find accommodation.
“Sometimes, due to the complex nature of the people we support, finding appropriate accommodation can be difficult. But we are committed to ensuring that no-one spends a night out at any cost.
“Last winter, we helped 66 people into emergency accommodation during our severe weather process. The extra beds really helped with this and are doing so again this year. They’ll ensure we can readily supply a safe warm space, shelter, food and support at a critical time. “
Councillor Randy Conteh, Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s cabinet member for communities and safer city said:
“It’s brilliant that funding obtained as part of the city council’s commitment to end rough sleeping and its five-year homelessness prevention sleeping strategy has enabled the Stoke-on-Trent Churches Community Night Shelter to extend its services and provide an extra nine beds during the winter period.
“The number of people sleeping rough during one night in Stoke-on-Trent fell from 34 in 2018 to 16 in 2019, showing there is significant progress being made.
“We are absolutely committed to eradicating rough sleeping and to supporting people sleeping rough to find accommodation and are working closely with our partners to tackle these issues.
“We urge anyone who is concerned about someone sleeping rough in the city should contact the Rough Sleepers Outreach Team, run by Brighter Futures, on 0800 970 2304.”