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Tackling Homelessness and Rough Sleeping in Bedford Borough

November 15, 2019 5:46 PM

Dean CroftsHomelessness and rough sleeping was in focus last week locally, with the Bedford Homeless Partnership's Homelessness Conference and the Council's Housing Committee meeting, where every item was on homelessness.

Tackling homelessness and rough sleeping is a clear priority of Mayor Dave Hodgson and the Liberal Democrats on Bedford Borough Council, with a series of additional measures introduced to tackle the local impacts of this national crisis.

Cllr Dean Crofts was in attendance at both the conference and the Housing Committee meeting, and he commented:

"Homelessness and rough sleeping is a travesty, however the Liberal Democrats at Bedford Borough Bouncil are leading the fight against homelessness with a range of services which are often not available in other areas.'

"We are also fortunate to have a number of excellent local charities and other partners working to prevent homelessness and to support those experiencing homelessness. This includes 9 organisations providing free food for rough sleepers over a period of seven days a week, for example.'

"Local Liberal Democrats will continue to make reducing homelessness and rough sleeping a priority in Bedford Borough."

New facilities and support for rough sleepers include:

  • The new complex needs unit, Clarence House, which was opened in March 2018 and which provides accommodation and tailored support and services to help rough sleepers with the most difficult issues to not only get off the streets but to stay off the streets.
  • New units of accommodation and new outreach workers, starting last winter after a successful funding bid by the council.

  • The new 'Somewhere Safe to Stay' hub in Bedford town centre, which is open 24 hours a day offering emergency homelessness advice and somewhere safe for people who are sleeping rough to stay for a short time. Professional advice will be on offer from a variety of support services to help people find the best way back into a settled home. The services will be available to those referred to the hub by the Housing Options Team at the Council, the SMART Prebend Centre, the Nightshelter or any of Bedford's Rough Sleeper Outreach Services. The SMART Prebend Centre will also continue to provide a Day Centre service.

These new services and facilities introduced in the last 18 months are in addition to the range of existing services and facilities in the Borough, such as YMCA's accommodation and support, the Nightshelter run by the King's Arms Project and many more.