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Published byDominic Hall Modified over 7 years ago
Winchester Churches Nightshelter “Offering hope and help for the homeless” The ‘Winchester Churches Nightshelter’ was ‘born’ in 1988 when it became apparent that a growing number of people in the Winchester area were becoming homeless and had no alternative but to sleep rough. In response to this need, the Winchester Churches Housing Group, an organisation set up by a number of churches in Winchester working together. In 1996 a building deemed suitable for a permanent Nightshelter, belonging to Hampshire County Council, was identified and following major redevelopment the new and permanent home of the WCNS was finally opened on 9 June 1997.
Relieving the suffering caused by homelessness. WCNS offer a bed with clean fresh sheets, a bath, toiletries, clothes washing facilities, good wholesome meals, a safe, comfortable environment, and support and guidance from the outreach support workers and WCNS staff. WCNS have 15 beds at present. 12 beds are supported by ‘Supporting People’ and enable guests to link closely to the Floating Support outreach workers and seek more permanent move-on accommodation. Our 3 ‘Crash beds’ allow guests to stay for up to 14 days and gain as much support as possible during that time from our Floating Support workers and WCNS staff. Both direct and agency referrals are accepted at the shelter.
The shelter is open every day throughout the year. Guests arrive at the earliest at 6.00pm each night and are required to leave the Shelter by 8.30am each morning. The shelter wouldn’t survive without it’s team of volunteers. Approximately 30% of the shelters income is from personal donations. The rate of guests moving on into long-term accommodation has slowed. Shelter’s report suggests that 45% of sheltered bed spaces in England are occupied by people who are waiting to move on into more permanent accommodation. Over 50% of the shelter residents then go on to use the Trinity centre facilities in the daytime. An essential life-line.
Plans for the future… to provide the best outreach and internal support that we can during our guests’ short or longer stay, & to those we have to turn away. to look at ways we can expand our help to guests in developing their life skills whilst at WCNS. to help guests move on more quickly to appropriate long-term accommodation. to build stronger links with other complementary charities and homelessness organizations, helping to join up homelessness services. to reach out more widely, highlighting the services at WCNS to ensure more of those in need know where to come, and what we can offer.
Winchester City Council provides a Housing Advice service for people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness along with those who are seeking housing advice with regards to alternative housing options. The Housing Advice service is designed to provide information for people in housing need so that they are able to make informed decisions regarding their housing options. Provision of Housing Directory of Services. Hampshire Home Choice.
Targets Respond to all service users facing an urgent housing support issue on the day. Respond to all non urgent approaches for assistance and support within 3 working days. We will work with you to develop a support plan within 7 working days of admission to temporary accommodation. We will ensure any other identified agency support is in place within 28 days. Answer all telephone calls within 3 rings. Respond to letters, faxes and e-mails within 10 working days, or give an explanation for any delay and an indication of when the query will be resolved.
Resources??? The homelessness team, although helpful, are limited in what physical help and provision they can enable. Demand severely outweighs provision. There is currently a four year waiting list for 1 bedroom properties. More guidance than action.
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