The Canterbury night shelter for rough sleepers will operate for twice as long this year – thanks to an injection of government money
Run by homeless charity Catching Lives, it provides rough sleepers with an evening meal and a bed for the night.
It opened on Monday, October 1 and will be in operation for six months instead of the three in previous years.
Up to 20 beds will be available until the end of March 2019.
Cllr Neil Baker, the council’s communities chairman, said: “The winter shelter plays a vital role in keeping people off the streets as the temperature plummets.
“And while it might feel relatively mild right now, the weather can deteriorate rapidly at this time of year.”
The expansion of the shelter has been made possible by two successful bids by the city council for government cash totalling £550,000 over the last year.
It will fund services for two years while the money will also pay for other projects
This includes the recruitment of a full time street population coordinator at the council, Daniel Gould. He and homeless charities Catching Lives and Porchlight are on the street every day talking to rough sleepers and developing individual support plans for each of them.
Catching Lives Project Leader Graeme Solly said: “We have seen in previous years that, for some of our clients, simply providing a safe and warm place for them to sleep at night has given them enough stability in their lives to be able to focus on addressing other areas, including their physical and mental health, which has led to many positive housing outcomes.
“The additional three months that the Canterbury Community Shelter will be running means that we have a greater chance to work with those who decide to stay, which increases the chances that they will be able to secure settled accommodation.
“We are grateful to our seven partner churches who provide the overnight venues, and all of our volunteers, for their support in extending the winter shelter and we look forward to working alongside them over the next six months.”