Concerned about the effect of cold weather on the homeless? Response from district council

This note has been sent to councillors

In St Albans we operate Severe Weather Emergency Provision-this has been running since November. The Nightshelter here runs with an increased capacity and if they become full, people are referred to other Nightshelters and if necessary, assisted with travel costs. We fund an Outreach worker who works with rough sleepers to encourage them to take up the accommodation available. This winter the Nightshelter is being funded to provide Extended Cold Weather Provision which means that the extra capacity is available throughout the winter months, not just when the temperature drops below 0 degrees for 3 days.

For your information, I would also advise you that an extra 5 beds are provided at Open Door (male and female).  For the last week it has been at full capacity.  The Outreach Worker estimates that about 4/5 individuals have slept out some of the time – usually because they have been banned from the Nightshelter.  They do offer an amnesty in severe weather but if people go in and cause problems they may be banned again.

In addition, Circle 33, the drop in centre run by volunteers for people who are homeless, is open 7 days a week.  Monday to Thursday hours are 10.30-11.30am and 8-9pm. Friday 10.30-11.30 am, Saturday 12.30-1.30pm and Sunday 6.30-7.30pm.  People can go there to use their washing facilities and to eat.

The Credit Union have received £8000 to assist homeless single people access private rented accommodation from the Warm Homes Healthy People Fund from Herts CC.

Our latest estimate was nine people sleeping rough based on the Outreach Worker’s count.

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