A NEW hub offering more than 30 emergency beds for homeless people in Warrington has opened.

The base, which opened on Friday, will provide emergency shelter for people sleeping rough in the town.

The pilot project will provide 10 emergency ‘rapid assessment’ beds and a further 22 longer term bed-sitting rooms with en-suite facilities, for homeless single adults or couples without children.

Facilities available at the hub, which is in Bewsey, include laundry, daytime activities and wider life skills support. The hub will be staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by specialist support workers.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for housing, public health and wellbeing, said: “We continue to do everything we can to tackle homelessness, both in terms of prevention and relief.

"As the cold weather hits, this is a really important project, which will support people and provide them with somewhere safe and warm to stay.

“Every person who is homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or sleeping rough is in need of support to get back on track with their lives.

"We are committed to supporting these people and will work closely with Forum Housing and other partner agencies to ensure that they are offered the right help and advice, through a range of services.

“Anyone sleeping rough will be offered a safe place for the night throughout the winter period and we will do everything we can help them move forward with their lives.”

Council leader, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “The new hub is a positive step towards being able to ensure that everyone has somewhere safe to stay at night. All of our homelessness services are currently under review to look at the type of service needed for the future that recognises the changing context and challenges we face.

“This new initiative will complement existing services that help people in Warrington who are sleeping rough or homeless, with the overall aim to support people on their journey from being homeless to gaining long term, settled accommodation.”

Debbie Thompson, chief executive of Forum Housing, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue working with the council to complement the existing services in Warrington. The purpose of this provision is to provide a safe place to stay for people who are homeless or sleeping rough, or at risk of becoming homeless. We provide an initial assessment and programme of support, working with partner agencies, to enable individuals to get their lives back on track.”

The council has recently carried out a review which has been used to develop a new draft strategy to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in Warrington, and is asking for the views of residents on the work that currently takes place, and how best to support people to prevent homelessness. Complete the survey at warrington.gov.uk/homelessness-and-rough-sleeping-strategy-consultation.

If you are aware of someone who may be sleeping rough, report it to the council at warrington.gov.uk/roughsleepers or call 246868 during office hours, or 444400 outside office hours, so that a member of the team can offer support.