Rough sleepers in Preston will have access to specialist services at a new homeless hub, to be established at The Foxton Centre in Spring 2019.Advertisement
Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has announced up to £420k investment in the scheme as part of the Government’s £100m Rough Sleeping Strategy.
The facility will house a medical facility to provide rapid assessment and support for people sleeping rough in the city, who may have complex physical and mental health needs and addiction.
It will be one of 11 centres at up across the UK as part of the Somewhere Safe To Stay initiative, aimed at providing immediate shelter and support.
Jeff Marsh, CEO of the Foxton Centre, said: “We work really hard here in Preston and the quality of work that is undertaken has given us real credibility.
“This is aimed at people at the very sharp end – the rough sleepers on the street. It is about putting them somewhere safely, on a very temporary basis and accessing medical and support services.
“A lot of rough sleepers have serious physical health problems and when they need something they have to go to A &E. We know the pressure that is on A&E.
“Also by offering timely mental health intervention it can prevent people being picked up by the police and awaiting assessment.
“Working with this group of people means if you do nothing, you send money simply maintaining life on the streets. We can do something much more positive than that.”
The Foxton Centre has been running the Housing First initiative for three years and has already taken more than 30 rough sleepers off the streets and placed them into supported accommodation.
The internationally recognised model provides not only a place to stay, but a tailored package of support to address the issues which have led to homelessness in the first place, to help rough sleepers recover from street life.
Read more: Here’s how you can help the Foxton Centre this winter
Coun Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, said: “The funding for the Somewhere Safe to Stay centre will enable the council to fulfil our commitment to the vulnerable people of Preston, helping them work towards a new way of life and tackle rough sleeping.
“The strong collaboration between the council, MEAM and other support services including the Foxton Centre, will help with support and advice for any person in need as well as emergency accommodation.
“It’s positive news for the city and will help expand our provisions for rough sleepers in Preston.”
A spokesman for Preston BID said: “Businesses in Preston will welcome this investment and will hope that it has the desired impact of getting vulnerable people off the streets and on to a support programme which will hopefully dissuade people from sitting outside business premises.
“The underlying social problems around homelessness will take much longer to fix but there needs to be something done now to help with the problem of rough sleeping and give those in genuine need the support they require, hopefully the new Hub will prove pivotal.”
Read more: Former BHS store front could become advertising hoardings
Jeff said: “I am really proud of the work our staff have already done and the changes people are making to their lives. This is great news for a smallish city like Preston.”
What do you think of the plans? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.