Cold snap triggers open doors for rough sleepers

By on 31/01/2012 in News, Winter Alerts

With a severe cold snap predicted throughout the week Birmingham City Council has thrown open its doors at the William Booth Centre to provide food and shelter for those sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham.

Those in need can go to the Centre – which opens from 10pm until 9am – where they will be given a place indoors to rest for the night.  Upon arrival the will receive light refreshments and a hot breakfast in the morning.

The Cold Weather Provision is a partnership approach to providing food and shelter to those without a roof over their heads and is based at the Salvation Army, William Booth Centre, Shadwell St in Birmingham.  It is funded by the city council's Supporting People programme and run by the Salvation Army with support from Midland Heart and Trident Reach.

Duty staff provide additional cover and are available to carry out risk and needs assessments of rough sleepers, look at temporary and permanent accommodation options, and advise those sleeping rough to relevant agencies who can help - where appropriate.

Cllr John Lines Cabinet Member for Housing said: “We've beefed-up our resources to accommodate those sleeping on the streets at a time when temperatures are predicted to dip to at least minus five.

“This facility is a lifeline, it gives people a roof over their heads and a hot meal in their stomach.  Both are essential elements for survival and will no doubt be a welcome respite for those who need this service.

“Preparations have been put in place which includes advising outreach teams and referral agencies so those who need these services have access to them.”

The city council monitors weather reports and when it's predicted that the temperature will fall to zero or below the Centre is opened.  If it's predicted that the temperature will continue for a number of days that's how long the Centre will remain open for.
Birmingham rough sleeping services are provided through a partnership between voluntary and statutory agencies.

The council has significantly reduced the number of rough sleepers with ongoing work between partners.  Work includes addressing issues to help people progress from hostels to free-up bed spaces for those in acute need.

This week the city council has launched its 2012+ homelessness strategy after completing a thorough review of homelessness in the city.

Ends.

For media enquiries only contact Karen Blanchette on 0121 303 6969.  For any other city council enquires call 0121 303 1111

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