Nottingham’s extra support measures for the homeless in cold weather have kicked this week, to provide enough shelter for anyone otherwise sleeping on the street as the temperatures drop.
Nottingham City Council and a range of partners provide a range of support all year round, which is stepped up between October and March – with extra safeguards in place when temperatures fall below zero, such as opening rooms at the London Road fire station to provide temporary support and shelter to those who have rejected offers of help.
Every year, the council leads a multi-agency group, including Framework, Emmanuel House, hostels and local churches, to develop a cold weather plan which aims to prevent and respond to rough sleeping, as well as reducing the risks to the health and well-being of those who sleep on the streets during winter months.
The council is committed to working throughout the year to try to prevent homelessness happening in the first place and providing support when it happens. The council is using all available Government funding to help its ongoing drive to tackle homelessness. It has also this week agreed to give Nottingham City Homes a loan to buy more houses, taking the total to 220, to re-house the homeless.
This winter, help available includes:
- Beds in hostels and specialist accommodation
- Dozens of daily opportunities for rough sleepers to get a free hot drink, meal or hot shower
- The Nottingham winter shelter, offering bed spaces
- Our Street Outreach Teams out daily from 5.30am talking to rough sleepers and offering them accommodation
- In very cold weather, an additional ‘sit up service’ happens at the fire station aimed at getting any remaining rough sleepers off the streets.
For more information, including advice for anyone facing homelessness, visit https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/information-for-residents/housing/homelessness-prevention-and-advice
City Council Leader Cllr David Mellen said: “As the cold nights draw in, we are doing all that we can to make sure that no-one needs to sleep rough in Nottingham this winter. That is why we will continue to fund local services for rough sleepers in Nottingham, working alongside charities, faith groups and other agencies to make sure there are enough beds for anyone who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets.”
Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, Councillor Linda Woodings, added: “We have robust measures in place all year round to provide support for anyone who sadly finds themselves on Nottingham streets. These are stepped up further when temperatures fall below zero which involves making additional shelter available and offering it to all identified rough sleepers to ensure they are protected from the cold.
“You may still see people on the streets as although all are offered support, for a variety of complex reasons some don’t accept it. Others may be people who beg who are not homeless. We would urge anyone who wants to help to donate to charities who are in a position to provide the best support.”
Homelessness and rough sleeping is unfortunately on the rise nationally and locally. Members of the public who see a rough sleeper can contact the street outreach team by texting SOT and a message to 80800, calling 0800 066 5356 for free 24/7 or go to www.streetlink.org.uk. Other ways to help are donating to homeless charities – including via the Nottingham BID’s Help Out Nottingham campaign http://www.helpoutnottingham.co.uk/ – or getting tickets to the Beat the Streets music festival on January 26 http://www.beatthestreetsuk.com/