The Winter Homeless Project 2023-24 in West Berkshire

The following statement was received from Greenham Trust on 16 April which we’re happy to reproduce verbatim.

Local homeless support charities came together in the autumn of 2023 to provide people who would otherwise have been street homeless in West Berkshire with access to a safe place to sleep during the winter months. Emergency accommodation in local hotels and bed and breakfasts provided a break for rough sleepers to get some essential respite from the harsh reality of their daily lives on the streets, as well as providing time for people who were newly homeless to put together a moving-on plan. A total of 37 people were supported by the project, with a total of 1,324 beds/nights provided.

The project, which came to an end on Monday 15 April, was a partnership between local charities The Newbury Community Resource Centre, West Berkshire Homeless, Newbury Soup Kitchen, Loose Ends Newbury and West Berkshire Council’s Rough Sleeper Team. Funding was provided by the Greenham Trust, Sheepdrove Trust and the Government’s Household Support Fund.

The project focused on supporting homeless people in West Berkshire who are categorised as ‘non-priority’. As such, the local authority does not have a duty to accommodate them. During the winter period, the risk to the health and well-being of people rough sleeping is considerably higher and so the local charities and West Berkshire Council designed the project to alleviate this risk for at least the winter period.

The project partners worked together and with other relevant organisations, including other charities, WBC departments, DWP and the NHS, to provide tailored support for each individual to help them to move on as soon as possible from the temporary accommodation provision to a longer-term solution to meet their needs.

The number of people in this cohort is increasing and there are a significant number who are rough sleeping in the wider sense of the term, in tents, garages, cars and so on. There is an insufficient stock of accommodation in West Berkshire to temporarily house these people. In the longer term, the charity partnership will continue to work collaboratively to improve the way in which they can collectively meet the needs of the homeless.

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