Thanet District Council has put £20,000 into a Winter Shelter scheme which will be operated by the Salvation Army and looks to continue the success of last year’s initiative in helping rough sleepers off the streets during the harsh winter months.
Homelessness in Thanet has seen a sharp increase this year with more people on the streets. This time last year it was estimated that there were 33 verified people recorded rough sleeping compared to the present estimate of 46 people.
As well as providing bed, clothes and food, a key aim is to better equip some of the district’s most vulnerable people to help them secure and retain longer-term accommodation, as well as providing practical pathways for training and employment. Unique to Thanet’s Winter Shelter is engaging with the Kent Mental Health practitioners to ensure guests are referred to the most appropriate primary care/charity sector services for their needs.
The Winter Shelter is run in conjunction with Glo Gen’s Aspire Homelessness programme and the homeless charity, Porchlight. This co-ordinated response means that individuals won’t simply leave after breakfast as they are provided with practical help throughout the day. Guests can access support, including training and skills, from one place, enabling them to make the difficult move from homelessness to rehabilitation back into the community.
The council’s Housing team worked alongside Porchlight to conduct a ‘homeless sweep’ where team members went out in the early hours of the morning to explain to those living on the streets how they could access help and register for social housing. Of the 25 guests who engaged with the team last year, 23 were in accommodation by the end.
Cllr Reverend Stuart Piper, Cabinet Member for Housing and Open Spaces, Thanet District Council, commented: “Homelessness and rough sleeping are a real problem and more and more people are suffering because of this. We are building on last year’s success to make a real difference to those people who have had problems outside of their control and find themselves living on the streets.”
“We’re delighted to provide these projects with financial support and will be working alongside our partners to identify future funding steams should the projects prove to be successful at the end of the pilot.”