Cold weather provision for rough sleepers underway

By on 02/12/2011 in News

Cold weather provision for those sleeping rough have been put in place by Birmingham City Council in preparation for weather reports of another bleak winter. 

The William Booth Centre provides food and shelter for those sleeping rough on the streets of Birmingham, and will open its doors as soon as a cold snap kicks-in.  Preparation includes advising outreach teams and referral agencies of the provision and means of accessing the service.

Once temperatures drop, 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: “Last year was the coldest winter the county had experienced since records began, and because of this we beefed-up our resources to accommodate those sleeping on the streets. 

“We plan to do the same again this year if we have another bitter winter, as the Centre is a lifeline to those sleeping rough in Birmingham.  This facility 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.”

Birmingham rough sleeping services are provided through a partnership between voluntary and statutory agencies. 

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.

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.

Ends

For more information contact Karen Blanchette on 0121 303 6969.

Notes to editors

•Birmingham City Council is nationally recognised as one of only fifteen community based rough sleeping champions in the UK.  The council won the award of 'Ending Rough Sleeping Champion' for its pioneering work in this area.

•The City Council works in partnerships with agencies to tackle the causes and solutions to rough sleeping in the city.  It works with a range of statutory and voluntary organisations including The Salvation Army, St Basil's and Midland Heart.

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