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Hillingdon opens Winter Night Shelter facility in support of the homeless as cold weather approaches

By Angela Patrone

The Council has opened its Winter Night Shelter scheme which offers those sleeping rough a “safe space” to sleep and receive support for a “settled life” when the scheme comes to an end.

Councillor Philip Corthorne, Cabinet Member of Social Services, Housing, Health and Wellbeing said: “This year, the shelter will be held in Hayes and will be open for six weeks, which allows rough sleepers to meet with our officer teams to settle into accommodation. It also provides immediate shelter, by helping to meet people’s most immediate needs. However, beyond that, it’s the start of a journey towards a more settled life.”

He continued: “The night shelter has been around for a number of years with an aim to help people throughout the coldest period of the year. It helps rough sleepers who do not have a bed for the night and gives people a safe space to stay.”

The scheme offers guests housing support, food, and accommodation during the coldest months of the year to both men and women. The shelter opened on January 20 and will remain open for 6 weeks until March 2.

As there are no cooking facilities at the shelter, hot meals are made by volunteers of the charity and bought over to the shelter. The night shelter is staffed by both workers of Trinity Homeless Project, Slough Homeless Our Concern (SHOC) and volunteers who want to get involved.

Source: Hillingdon Council Archive

The charity, Trinity Homeless Project, has helped the lives of many rough sleepers in Uxbridge through this campaign. Within the last year, the shelter has accommodated 269 guest nights.

Last year, of the 20 guests accommodated, 12 guests had been experiencing difficulties with alcohol, drugs and mental health conditions, according to Trinity Homeless Project. These guests were able to engage in adult social care during their stay, which was supported by the staff and Trinity coaches at the Winter Night Shelter facility.

Cllr Corthorne further discussed the importance of the scheme and the need for it to continue as he said: “It is something we have every intention of continuing as it will always be needed. We want to provide a settled route into accommodation, as well as providing the different services needed to help with mental health and drug addiction.

“Through this scheme, I have met a number of people who don’t conform to stereotypes of the regular homeless person. I have found that they come from all different backgrounds, ones you wouldn’t even expect.”

The Trinity Homeless Project for the Winter Night Shelter scheme found the overall feedback to be positive. Guests expressed how grateful they were for such a good service and the kindness they received from the staff and volunteers.

Within the last year, with the help of the Council, more than 30 rough sleepers have been settled into long-term accommodation, according to Hillingdon Council.

If you are aware of someone on the streets sleeping rough and would like to help, visit www.streetlink.ord.uk and give details of the person and their location.

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