How homelessness in Preston is tackled could be changing

Posted on - 4th March, 2017 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston City Centre
Official re-opening of the Foxton Centre
Official re-opening of the Foxton Centre

The future of a homeless shelter in Preston could be in doubt as Preston City Council makes it re-bid for funding.

The city’s Foxton Centre has received tens of thousands of pounds in the last two years to be the enabling centre and outreach service for Preston.

Now the contract is up and the city council is looking at what it does to support the city’s homeless population, using the £162,000 it is given by government to tackle the issue.

Cabinet member for social justice, inclusion and policy councillor Matthew Brown said: “Both the Enabling Centre and Assertive Outreach Service have been commissioned through the Foxton Centre for the last two years and is funded from the Council’s Homelessness Prevention Grant. The current contact finishes on the 31st March 2017 and so in line with procurement rules there is a tendering process for interested parties to bid for the contract.

“We will therefore be again inviting tenders for the provision of an Enabling Centre and Assertive Outreach Service to Rough Sleepers in the City of Preston who are verified rough sleepers, have a history of rough sleeping or are at risk of rough sleeping or are currently street drinking

“Traditionally day services for homeless people have been focused on food, clothing and health services. Whilst we recognise that there is a need to provide these, we are keen that service users do not become dependent on services which enable them to maintain a ‘street’ lifestyle and prevent them from tackling the larger issues in their lives.

“This will be a flexible, building-based day service which empowers service users to make positive changes in their lives and move away from rough sleeping permanently.

“The Assertive Outreach Service will actively engage with those sleeping rough/street drinking, initially referring them to the services at the Enabling Centre and integrating with other city wide health, social care and other relevant agencies.”

Read more: Preston’s Sikh community run free kitchen for the city’s homeless

Last summer the city council was one of the organisations involved in a crackdown on beggars in the city centre – after concerns about a number of people pretending to be homeless and earning hundreds of pounds a day on the city’s streets.

Chief executive of the Foxton Centre Jeff Marsh said: “These challenges come up for us all the time Foxton costs £450,000 per year to run and the small contract we have with Preston City Council helps us deliver our homeless work however its just a small part of what we do.

“We hope we will be successful in securing a new contract but can’t bank on it as it is an open competition and the best bidder will win. However, whatever the outcome Foxton will still be here delivering services to the most vulnerable in the community.”

The city council’s cabinet meet on Wednesday 8 March from 6pm to discuss the funding.

What do you think should be done for the homeless in the city? Let us know your views in the comments below

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