Rough sleepers in the present cold weather in Shrewsbury
Joint news from Shropshire Council and Shrewsbury Ark
Many of the people we are working with, and particularly those sleeping on the streets, have diverse and very complex needs, meaning that access to accommodation can be difficult.
During the winter months, all rough sleepers are offered accommodation, which may be shared housing, B+B or similar. This is offered regardless of the reasons an individual’s previous accommodation may have broken down, and without any judgement or blame where someone may be considered to have made themselves homeless.
In addition to this, during the current extreme cold, shelter has been provided within Shrewsbury town centre by Shrewsbury Ark, with help from Shropshire Council and other partner organisations.
Each evening, members of our team visit all rough sleepers to remind them that this provision is available, and to encourage them to come in from the cold. Police, council, street pastors and others are also helping to ensure everyone is made aware that they do not need to be outside. Taxis are available for those who may be unable to travel easily to this facility.
Despite every effort being made, some people will still choose to remain outdoors, and while we will not judge anyone’s reasons for this, it is important to note that during this bitter weather, we will do everything possible to ensure that all rough sleepers are aware of this provision.
The Alternative Giving scheme has been set up by the Team Shrewsbury partnership to ensure that money goes direct to groups that help the homeless in Shrewsbury. Four metal collection boxes are now in place in Shrewsbury town centre to encourage people to donate money directly to local homelessness charities, rather than giving it to someone begging in the town’s streets. An example of the way in which this money has been used is to fund deposits for private rent properties for people who previously slept rough.
Laura Fisher, Shropshire Council’s housing services operations manager and Tim Compton, Manager of Shrewsbury Ark, stated:
“Shropshire Council’s housing services and Shrewsbury Ark remain committed to ending rough sleeping within the county and whilst it is recognised that this is not a simple task, we will continue to work in partnership with West Mercia Police and other partner organisations to explore housing initiatives and provide support to meet the needs and complexities of those sleeping rough.”