Gloucester City Council have approved overnight accommodation facilities for up to 15 rough sleepers at the George Whitfield Centre, in Great Western Road.

The council has approved the Gloucester City Mission application to operate overnight accommodation for rough sleepers in Gloucester subject to conditions that seek to discourage anti-social behaviour.

The council will be working alongside the mission and other key partners to ensure that vulnerable people are being engaged with and get the support they need.

The Gloucester City Mission overnight accommodation will operate between 1st December and 31st March in order to safeguard the continued use of the building for community purposes as opposed to residential accommodation.

Cllr Colin Organ, cabinet member for housing and planning at Gloucester City Council, said: “We are committed to supporting homeless people get the help and support they need and have a programme of engagement and support in place with a number of partners. In addition to the extreme weather protocol, there are many community and specialist support services in place for homeless people throughout the year with the aim of getting them into permanent accommodation.

“Providing overnight accommodation may not necessarily be the best approach to deal with the issue of homelessness. However, the mission is making the necessary changes to the way they support vulnerable individuals and are working with us to ensure rough sleepers get the help they need.”

If you’re concerned about a rough sleeper please contact the P3 Outreach team via Streetlink www.streetlink.org.uk, download the app, or call 0300 500 0914.

Alternatively individuals can be referred to SWEP by the city council in office hours or by the Emergency Duty Team on 01452 614194 in evenings or weekends.

What support is available for homeless people and rough sleepers in Gloucestershire?

–          The P3 Outreach team responds to Streetlink reports and looks proactively for street sleepers in hotspots. They talk to people and help them get the accommodations and support they need in the short term, or help them reconnect people with friends or family or to their district or county of origin.

–          Greensquare and P3 Outreach are commissioned by the county council to deliver community based support, which works with sofa surfers, as well as people in tenancies.

–          The Police are part of the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP), and proactively look for homeless people and liaise with P3 Outreach team / councils / Emergency Duty team.

–          Similarly, each local authority informs key local partners when (SWEP) is called – community safety teams, local charities – so that they are also aware and can liaise with SWEP referrers.

–          CGL (substance misuse service, commissioned by county council) has a dedicated street outreach worker, which includes but isn’t limited to rough sleepers.

–          The ‘Time To Heal’ team (commissioned by CCG) works with homeless people in GRH hospital, to prevent them being discharged to the street.

–          The Homeless Healthcare Team (commissioned by CCG) provides specialist physical and mental healthcare to homeless people in their Gloucester base

–          There are many faith groups and other volunteer community support (VCS) groups who do outreach; soup runs etc. with homeless and vulnerable people in the county.

–          Generally people are expected to make their own way to shelters, and are given travel tokens if necessary. Where needed, the P3 team can take an individual with particular needs in an outreach car to their SWEP accommodation.

–          In exceptional cases where it is not suitable for people to be placed into communal SWEP accommodation for their own or others’ safety, or because a client has a dog and all dog spaces are filled, or even if all crashpad places are filled, individuals will then be placed in hotels.

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

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