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Revealed: New homelessness hostel set to open in Norwich this year

PUBLISHED: 07:48 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 07:48 02 July 2019

Homeless services manager Maria Pratt at St Martins Housing Trust's Bishopbridge House. The charity has announced it is set to open a new hub for rough sleepers in autumn 2019. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Homeless services manager Maria Pratt at St Martins Housing Trust's Bishopbridge House. The charity has announced it is set to open a new hub for rough sleepers in autumn 2019. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

A new base for rough sleepers in Norwich is set to open in autumn as part of a £400,000 scheme to tackle homelessness.

Funded by the government, the Somewhere Safe to Stay service has been commissioned by Norwich City Council and will be delivered by St Martins Housing Trust.

The hub will be made up of between 15 and 18 beds in private units, with access to shared shower and toilet facilities, as well as basic amenities to prepare food and drink.

It will include office space to speed up assessments and referrals, and the service will see specialist staff on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide people with information and support.

It has been funded by £404,000 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and includes £53,000 capital funding to modify and equip a leased building in the city centre, the location of which cannot yet be revealed.

Maria Pratt, homeless services manager for St Martins, said: "The hub will provide the emergency short term accommodation that is so badly needed in Norwich. In recent weeks we have seen an increase in the number of people on the streets and this service will help to alleviate the current situation.

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"We will be able to give people privacy and dignity while we actively work with them to access appropriate support and accommodation. We anticipate the average stay at the hub will be around 72 hours, after which each person will have a personalised housing plan so they can access more permanent accommodation alongside ongoing support."

It comes as part of the government's £100m Rough Sleeping Strategy, and is one of 15 new hubs around the country.

The hostel is designed to support people who have no alternative but to sleep rough, including those who have been evicted, or have left prison without accommodation.

Kevin Maguire, the city council's cabinet member for its rough sleeping strategy, said it was a "vital and positive" step in ongoing work to tackle rough sleeping.

He said the "loss of a number of preventative services caused by years of government cuts" meant facilities like the hub were becoming more necessary.

St Martins is recruiting for support workers for the new hub. If you are interested, an open day is being held on Wednesday, July 10 at 7 Upper Goat lane in Norwich from 10am to 3pm.

For more information, visit www.stmartinshousing.org.uk

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