New night shel­ter for rough sleep­ers

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

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

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