New night shelter for rough sleepers
BIRMINGHAM’S first-ever permanent night shelter for rough sleepers has opened its doors just as the city braces itself for the seasonal rise in homelessness.
The new Tabor House facility in Alcester Street, Digbeth, provides basics such as a bed and meal.
The centre, which has 100 volunteers, offers help with numeracy and literacy, health checks and advice, addiction support and help to find work.
An official count of rough sleepers last November found 55 on the streets of Birmingham, a rise of 50 per cent since last year.
But charities fear the true number is closer to 200.
Three rough sleepers have also died in Birmingham in the last year.
The Tabor centre is the first project from iShelter, an umbrella organisation made up of various charities, specialist homeless agencies, churches and businesses. It is opening with six beds, rising to 15 after a six months.
Christy Acton, deputy community projects manager at Father Hudson’s Care, said: “During the first six months we want to learn from how we’re doing things to ensure we’re offering the best support we can. We are providing a safe and positive environment and accommodation. They have a bed, evening meal, showers and laundry. There is also support one-to-one support from a volunteer mentor.”
He said some of the users will stay for three nights, and others who demonstrate a willingness to work with the volunteer mentors will be given 28 days to get on their feet and find somewhere more permanent to live. No one will be thrown out back onto the streets.
Tabor House is based in the Birmingham Irish Association building and was fitted out by Friel Construction at no cost to the charity. The development has been supported by donations from charitable trusts and costs about £100,000 a year to run.
> Tabor House in Alcester Street