Tens of thousands of pounds will help homeless to turn life around
PUBLISHED: 16:50 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:51 16 May 2019
Tens of thousands of pounds will be gifted to North Somerset to support the rising number of rough sleepers.
Communities secretary, MP James Brokenshire, has said more than £74,000 will be given to North Somerset Council for specialist support to help the homeless turn their lives around.
This amount is on top of the £25,000 pledged by Weston Town Council to support the town's Night Assessment Centre which opened in November.
MP John Penrose said: "Weston's night shelter does vital work providing shelter for homeless people.
"But we have also got to address the really difficult and varying underlying problems which put people on the streets in the first place, like addiction, mental illness or a relationship breaking down.
"Fixing those problems means tailored, individual help to get lives back on track, which is exactly what this cash is supposed to do.
"I am delighted ministers have listened to what I and many other people have been saying about this for a while.
"It won't fix everything in one go, but it is an absolutely essential step in the right direction."
Homelessness has been an underlying problem in Weston for a number of years but rose to prominence last year after a powerful photo of a rough sleeper in a storm was shared on social media. Since then, the plight against homelessness has been felt in Weston and wider North Somerset.
The Beast from the East saw a temporary night shelter set up by the Quakers at their Meeting House, in Oxford Street, before a battle for a full-time shelter began.
A working party was created with key players from Somewhere To Go, YMCA and other interested parties with the common goal to set up a night shelter.
After months of hard work, the Weston Night Assessment Centre was opened at Somewhere To Go, in Boulevard, with 10 beds for the homeless.
Five months on and the centre has increased in size to 14 beds and has dealt with 27 referrals, with 10 guests being placed into safe accommodation.
The night assessment centre management group and Somewhere To Go board are now looking to enhance both the day and night provisions and make the service permanent.