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Walsall Council acts to help rough sleepers this Winter

by danielbarker on 10 October, 2017

Extra beds are needed for the homeless this winter as dozens more rough sleepers are living on the streets of Walsall than originally feared.

The estimated number of people on the streets more than tripled from seven in 2015 to 26 in 2016. But in fact a total of 62 people actually turned up at the winter shelter which was set up at the Glebe Centre for a month last year.

As a result, Walsall Council is now set to move the shelter to its former electoral registration department building at 40 Darwall Street near its own offices because it can fit in 26 beds – eight more than the Glebe Centre on Wednesbury Road.

And the service will be up and running for three times as long, between the start of December and the end of February, as the council hopes to help people stay off the streets for good.

It will be available between the hours of 8pm and 8am and run by an army of 100 volunteers from the YMCA.

Councillor Diane Coughlan, portfolio Holder for Social Care, blamed Government cuts for the growing problem of homelessness. The Labour councillor said: “The number of rough sleepers is worse than thought.

It is austerity that is causing this due to the Government welfare “reforms”.

“The problem is being left for local councils to deal with and we can’t stand by and do nothing when people are on the streets.”

She added: “I’m delighted that the community are working together to take this night shelter proposal forward. It is a shining example of what can be achieved when people from all faiths and backgrounds come together to do something positive to help others.

“The proposal is not just about providing temporary accommodation for rough sleepers, it’s about a longer term aim of giving them improved life chances. This initiative is one of a range of services to support vulnerable people in Walsall.”

Already 72 volunteers have expressed an interest in supporting the project.

Anybody interested in volunteering or donating should contact YMCA Black Country.

By Carl Jackson – Express & Star

Content published and promoted by Roy Sheward on behalf of Dan Barker (Liberal Democrats) all at 144 Redhouse Lane, Walsall, WS5 0DB

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