The city council has today announced that up to 57 rooms will be made available in the Travelodge to provide shelter and protection for rough sleepers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The cost of the initiative will be £163,000 and the council will be working with partner organisations to maintain daily support for the individuals.
Chairman of our Community Committee, Cllr Neil Baker, said: “We’re very pleased to have reached this deal with Travelodge to accommodate the most vulnerable people in our community at this most difficult of times.
“There is no protection from coronavirus for people living on the streets, so by providing these safe spaces we are giving rough sleepers the very best chance of surviving this pandemic, while also carrying on working with them to resolve their homelessness once and for all.”
In addition to the Travelodge rooms, rough sleeper services in Canterbury district are continuing to operate wherever possible. Catching Lives, although now unable to run their normal day centre, is operating a food service from a hatch at the front of their building next to Canterbury East railway station, serving breakfast between 9.30am and 10.30am and lunch from midday to 1pm.
Catching Lives is also offering a limited service for those who need to access their showers and laundry facilities.
Porchlight continues to run their local supported accommodation which includes a number of emergency bedspaces used by our rough sleeper initiative team.
And community outreach work goes on, with all agencies ensuring they are in regular contact with homeless people on the phone and providing assistance where needed. Phones and power banks are available from Catching Lives.
Donations of food, drink and other essentials are also coming in from local residents and businesses, including Waitrose, who provided a very generous supply of food.
Cllr Baker added: “This is our district in a nutshell – the community coming together to support people who really need our help. It’s fantastic to see and we send our grateful thanks to everybody who is playing their part during this crisis.”