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One is one too many!

February 11, 2019 9:00 AM

Mayor Dave Hodgson at Clarence HouseOne person sleeping rough in Bedford Borough is one too many, and I never want to see the day that it is considered in any way acceptable that people in our community do not have a roof over their head.

So while it's encouraging that official rough sleeper count figures now show there are a third fewer people sleeping rough in Bedford Borough than there were a year ago, it's vital this fall continues.

Rough sleeping has rocketed nationally in recent years, but while there are many national causes we can work on local solutions. Over the last year or so we've introduced a raft of new services, working alongside excellent local charities and other partners.

These include Clarence House, which has 29 units of accommodation including for those rough sleepers with the most complex needs and difficulties. Meanwhile, this winter we won funding for new support including up to 32 new units of accommodation, six new outreach workers and 20 new overnight beds throughout the winter.

The dedication and commitment of staff and volunteers at local homelessness charities is tremendous, and shines through whenever I visit their services.

They deserve our support, and the best way to help those in need in our Borough is to contribute to the work these excellent local charities do. For example, SMART's 'CRIB' appeal in aid of the Prebend Day Centre is open until the end of February. See smartcjs.org.uk/crib-appeal-bedford-homeless for details.

Remember, if you know of someone sleeping rough you can report their location and any details at www.streetlink.org.uk. The council and other agencies would rather be told several times about someone sleeping rough than not at all.