Council pledges £25k for Weston homeless night shelter rather than splitting cash up for smaller projects
PUBLISHED: 07:16 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:36 22 February 2018
Money allocated by Weston Town Council to help homeless people living on the town's streets will be allocated to a night shelter, it has been decided.
The council pledged £25,000 in its budget in January to help people sleeping rough, after a group of volunteers called for action.
Although figures suggest there has not been an increase in homelessness in the town, and it varies between four and eight people at a time, the presence of men sleeping rough in the seafront shelters has highlighted the issue.
North Somerset Council has set up a homelessness partnership to develop a shelter, while Churches Together, which provides hot meals, also wants to offer its assistance.
At its policy and finance meeting on Monday, the town council formally confirmed to provide £25,000 towards a night shelter, either in a building or a vehicle, and decided it would not split the money up for smaller projects.
In a report, council clerk Malcolm Nicholson said: “It appears the town council can most usefully contribute by focussing its resource on one specific project of a night shelter in Weston rather than attempting to support a number of different areas.
“I believe given the work already being undertaken, primarily by members of the public in the local community, this is a realistic goal.”
Mr Nicholson said the churches own properties, and one may find a building which could be converted into a night shelter if it had showers and a kitchenette.
Cllr Catherine Gibbons said: “We can discuss various options, but we need to sit and look at them carefully and make a decision on the basis of what is the most viable to offer a long-term solution.”
Mr Nicholson added: “It will take a while because there is a lot to be sorted out.
“Premises have not been identified, and there is a question of professional input for health and safety if people have mental health issues or bring drugs and needles into the premises.”
Councillors James Davis, Catherine Gibbons, Richard Nightingale, and possibly Robert Payne, will sit on the town council’s working party to research the options and work with the other groups helping the homeless.