Winter shelters bracing for increased demand - The Rugby Observer

Winter shelters bracing for increased demand

Rugby Editorial 27th Nov, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

HOMELESS shelters in Rugby are bracing themselves for another busy winter.

Two new churches have been added to the Hope 4 Rugby network of shelters and an ‘overspill’ venue is being sought, as volunteer workers anticipate a further rise in the number of people seeking their help.

Last winter, unprecedented demand forced them to turn people away every night. In total 53 people registered for beds throughout the winter, despite the charity only being able to cater for up to 15 people each night.

Volunteers said it was heartbreaking they had to refuse beds to vulnerable people with nowhere else to turn.

Hope 4 chairperson and Rugby Winter Shelter co-ordinator Reverend Dr Michael Bochenski feared a repeat of last year.

He said: “Hand on heart, I suspect we’re going to get a similar increase this year – that there will be increased demand on the bed spaces.

“We have tried to find an overflow venue, but it has not proved easy and nothing concrete has emerged.

“The only real solution to the problem of rough sleeping in a town like Rugby will need to be a cross-party one.

“There would need to be a consensus across the political spectrum, and part of that would need to be a determined effort to do more social housing building and projects.”

He added Rugby Borough Council had been working closely with the charity to help people find accommodation.

Council communities spokeswoman Coun Leigh Hunt said: “The council enjoys a good working relationship with Hope 4 and recognises the valuable service the Rugby Winter Shelter provides.

“Guests at the shelter receive equal priority to other applicants on our waiting list in similar housing need, as the council must focus its limited resources and services on local people.

“However, we treat each case on its own merits and offer support and guidance to help guests into housing.

“We also hold regular drop-in sessions at the Hope Centre to help the homeless or those at risk of homelessness to get re-housed.”

The Rugby Winter Shelter will be open from December 1 to March 31.

Two new churches are welcoming winter shelter guests to their premises this year – St George’s in Hillmorton and the Rugby Christian Fellowship on Cambridge Street.

This year’s venues are: Sundays – St John the Baptist, Hillmorton; Mondays – St Marie’s; Tuesdays – St George’s; Wednesdays – Rugby Baptist; Thursdays – the Rugby Christian Fellowship; Fridays – the Salvation Army and Saturdays – the Rugby Methodist Centre.

People wishing to book a place need to register in person with a Hope 4 Support Worker at the Hope Centre, 46a Church Street. Visit or call 01788 572456 for more details.

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