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Increased Night time Shelter for Bedford’s Rough Sleepers

January 12, 2019 11:14 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Mayor Dave Hodgson and SMART Chief Executive Anita McCallumAs part of a range of additional services and support for rough sleepers in Bedford Borough this winter, twenty new overnight beds are available every night through to 31st March.

The new beds are provided via partnership between Bedford Borough Council and the charity SMART, which runs the Prebend Day Centre and extended outreach services. SMART's Chief Executive Anita McCallum is pictured here with Mayor Dave.

These beds are available by referral only, are managed by street outreach teams, and anyone being supported by the Outreach Services is able to register for a bed each night. People who are sleeping rough are encouraged to attend the Prebend Day centre to receive support from outreach teams, which enables them to access the winter beds.

If you see someone sleeping rough, you can let the outreach teams know by reporting it through the national rough sleeping report website www.streetlink.org.uk. This will ensure that individuals are contacted by outreach teams each day.

Following a successful bid by the Council to the Government's Rough Sleeper Initiative fund, Bedford Borough Council has been able to expand its provision for those rough sleeping and has introduced a number of initiatives, including these overnight beds.

Outreach teams have already supported 12 people off the streets and into long-term accommodation. A number of rough sleepers have also been supported into temporary accommodation including 8 people moved off the streets and into accommodation under a partnership with The Kings Arms Project, with intense support to find employment and long-term accommodation.

This is in addition to the well-established severe winter provision, run by the Salvation Army and supported by Bedford Borough Council. This shelter opens when the temperatures are forecast below freezing for three or more consecutive nights. This year the shelter is at the Salvation Army outreach centre on Kennedy Road, off Elstow Road Bedford and works in partnership with the 20 bed provision.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "These new overnight beds are another enhancement of the support and services available for rough sleepers in Bedford Borough. We're pleased to be working with SMART and other excellent local partners in the shared task of ensuring people receive the support they need to get off the streets and to stay off the streets."