Rough sleepers to be offered beds for six extra weeks this winter
- Credit: Lucy Buchholz/Ipswich Borough Council
Ipswich's night shelter will once again extend its winter season to provide additional support for rough sleepers in town, thanks to government funding.
Since 2018, Ipswich Borough Council has been allocated funding from the government's annual rough sleeper initiative.
Grants for the final quarter of this year have been recently confirmed, with £26,108 going to the winter night shelter run by Selig Suffolk Trust so that six additional weeks of the winter season can be funded.
This means that the night shelter will be open for two additional weeks at the end of this month and run all the way through to the end of March 2022.
Last season, the winter night shelter gave 16 people shelter for the coldest months, with more than 80 volunteers helping with meals, cleaning and support. Covid vaccines were also provided to those staying at the accommodation.
According to council figures, the rough sleeper initiative partnership has been successful in reducing homelessness in Ipswich.
In November 2017 there were 27 rough sleepers identified in the annual November survey; this figure had dropped to nine in November 2020. The 2021 survey has yet to take place.
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Cllr Neil MacDonald, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Housing and Health, said: "Our work starts long before anyone may become a rough sleeper by offering support to find housing and also help to maintain accommodation.
"We work hard with our partners: Anglia Care Trust, Ipswich Housing Action Group, Sanctuary Supported Living, Selig (winter night shelter) and Norfolk Suffolk (NHS) Foundation Trust. Together we provide short term emergency accommodation and support for people sleeping rough if they have a local connection, working together to prevent them returning to the streets.
"This work includes emergency bed space; temporary (short-term) bed spaces; severe weather provision bed spaces; support for those with drug and alcohol issues, specialised mental health support and housing advice & support through the council's Housing Options teams."
Ipswich's winter night shelter is run by volunteers - anyone interested in lending a hand should contact the Selig Suffolk Trust for more information and an application form.