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Bedford Borough Council Opening Emergency Beds For Rough Sleepers Every Night Throughout the Winter

December 4, 2019 2:29 PM
Originally published by Bedford Borough Liberal Democrats

Mayor Dave Hodgson visits the 'Somewhere Safe to Stay' HubRough sleepers in Bedford Borough will be able to access emergency beds every night throughout the winter, not just when temperatures drop below freezing.

This means that for the second successive year in Bedford Borough accommodation will be available every night throughout the winter to 31 March, with 22 extra beds every night rather than just basic emergency beds in very cold weather.

This is on top of existing accommodation which provides 39 beds for rough sleepers throughout the year at the 'Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub' run by SMART in the town centre and the Kings Arms Project Nightshelter.

The announcement follows the opening of the 'Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub' which is open 24 hours a day providing short-term accommodation and wrap-around support for rough sleepers. A number of multi-agency professionals work together from the Hub providing advice from a variety of support services to help people get back into a home and living independently.

Bedford has seen a reduction in the number of people sleeping rough on our streets with the most recent Annual Rough Sleeper Estimate showing a third fewer people sleeping rough, from 76 in November 2017 to 51 in November 2018. Recent figures report a further reduction with 30 people known to be sleeping on the street. However many of these people are either unable to access support, or choose not to.

This reduction has followed innovative and proactive steps by the Council and its partners, including the opening of One Housing Group's 'Clarence House' providing support for those with the most complex needs, more outreach support encouraging vulnerable people to accept help, and additional accommodation.

To make sure those who need access to an emergency bed can get one Bedford Borough Council encourages anyone that is sleeping rough to visit the Prebend Day Centre, speak to an outreach worker, or contact the Council's Housing Options Team at any time on 01234 267422

If you have concerns about someone you see sleeping rough, you can report them to the outreach teams at www.streetlink.org.uk