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COUNCIL TO PROVIDE WINTER SHELTER FOR ISLAND’S HOMELESS


A new safe place for homeless people to take shelter in during the colder winter months is to be provided by the Isle of Wight Council.

The local authority is opening an emergency winter shelter at the former Barton Primary School site in Newport.

As well as providing rough sleepers with a warm, safe place to sleep and hot food in the coldest months, the shelter will enable the council to make contact with this very vulnerable group of people so it can help find a permanent solution to their housing needs.

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Councillor Clare Mosdell, Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing needs, said the council was very clear that no one should have to sleep rough. She said:

“Living on the streets is one of the most dangerous, frightening and isolating experiences anyone could face.

“In previous years, a variety of churches have done a brilliant job in providing rolling emergency night shelter provision and we pay tribute to all of the faith leaders for their compassion and commitment in opening churches for the night.

“However, I believe we should not have to rely on others to fund such a vital service.

“As a council, we have a moral duty of care for our residents and, for that reason, I have worked hard to ensure we can provide what should be a basic human right given to everyone — safe shelter.

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“This type of initiative illustrates how the council can make use of its facilities to aid those most in need.

“For me, it is about building trust and helping people to turn their lives around.”

The council is commissioning the Salvation Army, an expert in homeless services, to lead the service which will offer much more than just a safe sanctuary for the night.

In many cases, people experiencing homelessness are already facing multiple complexities, which are compounded further by spending even one night sleeping on the street.

Those in need on the Island will be provided with a caring arm to help them rebuild their lives and address the reasons for their rough sleeping. The service will also help people access the support they need, such as welfare benefits or healthcare.

The council is being supported by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government through the winter fund it has made available, helping towards site renovation costs and service delivery.

The local authority has worked closely with organisations within the local community, including Medina House School, to ensure all potential risks posed by the winter shelter are mitigated.

The ward councillor, Geoff Brodie, said:

“We used to have a winter homeless shelter at the current Barton Primary School site after Downside Middle School closed in 2011, but that had to close after winter 2015 due to the Barton school move.

“I am pleased to see the old Barton school being used for something that is sadly still much needed by those unfortunate enough to be without a roof over their head.”

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.

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Teresa onions
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Teresa onions

Do you need any volunteers I haven’t done it before but if I can I’m willing to help

Edward Brewer
Guest
Edward Brewer

They are signing up volunteers at the Salvation Army hall in Pyle street Newport on Friday between 11am 1700.

Joe Bloggs
Guest
Joe Bloggs

The money the council is wasting on the St Mary’s scheme could help provide homes for these people.

none given
Guest
none given

you used to be able to get a social fund loan for a rent deposit, then claimed housing benefit for the ongoing rent. The loan part was deducted from benefits to pay it back.

I suspect there is this still in place, however, for some that is probably not an option any longer.

none given
Guest
none given

only thing worse than staring into the cold night as you walk home, is not having a home to go to.

Nice to see the council providing this shelter at the coldest time of year.

Sheena warder
Guest
Sheena warder

About bloody time too!!

ells
Guest
ells

best piece of news thats been put on here for a very long long time hope all you homeless enjoy this you all deserve it and good luck

Islander
Guest
Islander

I hope this turns into a long term initiative as homelessness is a long term problem not just through the winter months and the problem is sadly only getting worse. Instead of wasting money on pie in the sky ideas the council need to seriously address this problem and bring in a long term solution and hold out a helping hand to the homeless as it’s also about gaining there trust enough for them to make contact and even ask for help.

Paul O'Rourke
Guest
Paul O'Rourke

According to Labour, being in temporary accommodation means you are homeless, so this isn’t going to help is it. They are still homeless until you buy them a house.

none given
Guest
none given

@Paul – clearly you are looking for people to have a go at you.

This is not about some dimbo’s in a political party sat in some warm offices somewhere spouting rhetoric and other irrelevance. This is about someone sat on a park bench as night draws, facing a bleak, cold night of shivering in a doorway under a wet or damp piece of cardboard, worrying about closing their eyes in case some pissed up fool thinks its funny to hit them or urinate on them or worse.

The endless days of trudging around the town and endless nights of shivering – what the hell has that got to do with some dopey clown that decided it would be a great idea to get into politics and is now so up themselves they think they know better than everyone else.

Get a grip will you and look at the reality that some face, not what some well fed, housed and wealthy politician spouts off.

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