Extra funding will support the homeless in West Suffolk
A council has secured up to £52,000 in Government funding to increase support for rough sleepers across West Suffolk this winter.
West Suffolk Council will use the extra money from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Cold Weather Fund to extend the range of options to help.
The authority has urged residents to report anyone they see or suspect is sleeping rough and to donate to Bury Drop In’s Looking for Change campaign rather than give money to those on the streets.
Cllr Sara Mildmay-White, cabinet member for housing, said a support team had reduced the number of those sleeping rough in West Suffolk from 36 last September when the team was formed to 20 as of October including 11 in Bury St Edmunds.
“We also have accommodation options in place across West Suffolk,” she said.
“We are not opening a winter night shelter as we know a lot of our rough sleepers need different kinds of specialist support.
“It works better for the rough sleepers and we are able to give them more help when we have a range of accommodation available for us to use rather than a night shelter.
“They also get to remain in the accommodation throughout the day.
“We also encourage people not to give money to people that they see on the streets during the day, many of whom are already accommodated and have a place to sleep at night, but to instead donate to the Bury Drop In’s Looking for Change campaign.”
The charity helps provide homeless people with food and a warm drink, a roof over their head, support, improved health including access to dental services, education, clean clothes, a job and the chance to reconnect with their families if they want to.
West Suffolk Council activated its Severe Weather Emergency Protocols in November giving it greater access to emergency accommodation.
The authority offers support and accommodation throughout the year to homeless people including those who are rough sleeping and assists people in claiming benefits where they are eligible to do so.
To text donate, type BSE followed by the amount. For example, for £5 type BSE5 and send to 70085. Donate online at https://burydropin.echoleft.com/fundraising/bury-looking-for-change/donate
To report rough sleeping, visit www.streetlink.org.uk or call 01284 757178.
More by this authorPaul Derrick